If you have a chicken coop in your garden or yard, there are many ways to make the most of it. One of the primary things that a lot of chicken owners like to do is to use something known as the chicken coop compost method, otherwise known as the deep litter method. This is where you use the floor of the chicken coop to create compost – and as it turns out, there are many benefits to this.
Using your chicken coop to produce compost helps to reduce waste, ensuring that your garden is more environmentally-friendly. This nutrient-rich compost will benefit your whole garden, and the composting also creates warmth for the coop itself. Plus, having a soil subfloor is a much more natural approach to keeping chickens.
What Is The Chicken Coop Compost Method?
So, let’s look into this method in a little more detail. At its heart, this method is just about leaving the bedding and excrement in the coop, allowing it to decompose and become compost over time. Rather than clearing it out regularly, just leaving it alone like this will eventually ensure you get compost.
But surely it can’t be quite as simple as just never cleaning the coop out? No: in fact, you do need to first prep the ground if you are going to use this method. That is actually quite simple to do, you just need to spread out clean litter to a depth of about 3 or 4 inches on the bottom of the coop. You should ideally do that in the autumn, and you can use a variety of items for the litter: leaves or wood shavings are especially popular.
Then, every week, you should throw in another layer of those wood shavings or leaves, as the manure is accumulating on the floor. You can either then stir the litter yourself or encourage the chickens to do it for you by throwing in some grains for them to peck at.
Remember: the compost needs oxygen, so breaking up big clumps is essential. Likewise, in the winter you should ensure there is plenty of ventilation throughout the coop.
Why Make Your Own Compost?
You might be wondering why it is beneficial to make your own compost. The fact is that making your own compost is one of the most environmentally beneficial things you can ever do. Home made compost is composed of entirely natural materials, as you can see, which means you are avoiding any harmful chemicals which could damage the garden or the local ecosystem.
It’s free to do, besides any of the materials you might need to initially get hold of, and you will always know that it’s safe to use the compost. Some estimations say that producing your own compost reduces waste by up to 30%. The more waste you reduce, the more you are helping the environment out, and that is more important now than ever before.
Why Use The Deep Litter Method?
As well as all of the benefits of making compost, the deep litter method also has a number of other bonuses that you should be aware of too. For one, it means that you are not going to have to clean out your chicken coop as often, which means less manual labour for you and your family. All in all, it makes caring for chickens a lot easier.
Plus, as we have hinted at above, your chicken coop will be warmer as a result of the composting process, meaning that your chickens will be more comfortable without you having to provide extra warmth in some other way.
All in all, it’s good for the chickens, good for you, and good for the planet. It’s also a very clean and sanitary method, doesn’t smell bad (despite what you might think) and results in chickens who are healthier and less likely to develop coccidiosis.
Troubleshooting Your Chicken Coop Compost
If you have been trying your hand at the chicken coop compost method and you are not sure it’s quite going right, there are a few things that can commonly crop up as problems, which we are going to address now. You will probably find that someone has been through the same issues before, so you can at least know that you are not alone and there is always a way to work around it.
One common issue is that the compost is starting to smell. When the compost is working properly, there should be no unpleasant smells coming from it at all, so this is an indication that something has gone wrong. Specifically, it usually means you need to add more litter in, especially if you can smell ammonia. It could also be that you are not mixing the litter around enough.
If the problem is that the litter simply isn’t composting, that is normally a sign that you haven’t got a good range of material in there. If you have ever tried to produce compost before, you will know that there are a lot of different things needed, and you need to keep the pH levels neutral. What this means in practice is that, if your chickens suddenly produce a lot of excrement, you need to top it up with even more littler, and vice versa.
How Can You Use Compost In The Garden?
When you have some compost ready, you are going to want to start using it around the garden. There are many ways in which you can do this, and generally it is a case of spreading it around on the soil, underneath plants and wherever you want your garden to have more nutrients. The compost should smell slightly sweet and be crumbly under the fingers when it is ready.
As you can see, there are many great benefits to using your chicken coop as a composting method, so consider doing this if you want to do your bit for the planet and make chicken care easier.
If you enjoyed reading about making your chicken coop thrive by incorporating a deep litter compost flooring, you will probably enjoy reading about how to recycle perfectly.