River Cottage Australia

Deep Littering your Chicken Coop

Deep littering is a system where the ‘bed’ of your chickens’ enclosure is used to create compost that can then be used for your garden. Paul West explains all!

It’s a relatively simple process, requiring nothing more than your chooks, a pen that allows them room to roam, and a base of straw or wood shavings that goes several centimetres deep. Here are a couple thngs to remember:

  • Chooks will naturally scratch around on this bedding, reducing it to dust. Once a week, all you need to do is rake the area to combine the bedding with the chooks’ faeces, adding another layer of straw or wood shavings to make sure the ratio of droppings to dust isn’t too high.
  • You’ll know if you don’t have the balance right if the area starts smelling like ammonia. If this is the case, add some more straw or shavings.

The result is a mini compost heap – one that your garden will love!

And the benefits for your chooks are wide ranging as well. This system of a coop is a cleaner & healthier environment for your birds, and is a less attractive one to lice and mites. The compost also generates heat and keeps things warm in winter & cool in summer. And what you won’t see is all the good microbes that eat and break down the faeces, consuming the unhealthy bacteria and leaving the good bacteria behind.

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