Many people are curious about the Deep Litter method for a chicken coop run. First, consider your moisture situation. No matter what bedding method you choose for your chicken run the ideal situation is one that is not too wet. Ideally the coop and run are on higher ground and are protected from standing water and runoff. Not surprisingly, having a covered run is a bonus to protect from rain. Too much moisture can lead to excess ammonia, smells and flies.
Wood chips and leaves are a great choice for deep litter in the chicken run. Alternatively, almost any source of carbon that is free and plentiful in your area can be used. Remember, deep litter is composting in place so carbon, nitrogen and moisture must be kept in the proper balance.
Chickens love wood chips and leaves in their run and the best part is they can almost always be obtained for free. Many cities offer free wood chips at recycling centers. Try contacting local arborists and get on their list for a free truckload next time they have a job in your area. A third alternative for free wood chips is to sign up on GetChipDrop.com.
Start off with a layer of about 5″ of woods chips and 1-2″ of leaves. Add additional material as needed during the year. Don’t remove chicken droppings but feel free to rake and aerate. Allow nature to work its magic as the wood chips and leaves decompose in place to a rich compost. The chickens will love scratching around in it looking for bugs. Moreover, their scratching also assists oxygenation of the material and further speeds up composting.