5 tips to a good deep lit­ter sys­tem

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

• The mix­ture needs to be turned fre­quently to pre­vent the sur­face from form­ing a caked layer that stops the com­post­ing process. You can en­cour­age your flock to do this by scat­ter­ing a grain feed around it each day so they scratch at it.

• You will get a build-up of drop­pings un­der perches. This needs to be raked out over the en­tire floor. A few sec­onds of rak­ing each morn­ing is the eas­i­est way to man­age it.

• You need to keep the floor dry. Pre­vent rain from blow­ing into the coop, with a porch over the door, or by hang­ing strips of cloth or plas­tic. En­sure drinkers are spill-proof or placed away from the lit­ter area.

• Keep a deeper layer of at least 15cm around any en­try point to help ab­sorb higher mois­ture lev­els. You may need to put in a 15cm-high ‘lip’ at the bot­tom of a door (lay a piece of wood across it) to stop lit­ter from fall­ing out or be­ing spread around too thinly.

• Add, fresh, dry lit­ter reg­u­larly; when you clean out nest boxes, add the nest ma­te­rial to the floor lit­ter.

A well-man­aged deep lit­ter floor can stay in place for up to a year with no smell. When dug out, lit­ter can be added di­rectly to the top of gar­den soil, spread over pas­ture or used around or­chard trees.

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