Saturday, 13 November 2010

Deep Litter Beds

In August Ben built our geese a new Goose Hoose because a) the little ones were fast outgrowing the mobile dog's cage that housed them overnight and b) we wanted them all in one house to be easier for us and safer for them. The new Goose Hoose is on the right in the photograph (the old one with its roof off is in the background). It has worked well.

The thing that I am most impressed with is that it now has an earth floor (my choice). The old one had a wooden floor and was very difficult to clean once all the straw had been moved out as their poop is very watery and 'lurked' on the wood. The earth floor just absorbs it and deals with it. We can now run with a deep litter bed system. This is where fresh straw is put on top of the old and the warmth from the old straw decomposing keeps the geese warm. I cleaned it out this week and was pleased to see that the system was functioning well, that the straw was not smelly and horrible, that indeed just a fine strawy/earthy mix was forming. In the photograph taken part-way through cleaning you can see a 25cm deep layer of straw at the back, moving to earth at the front. Not a horrible wet stinking mess like the old house after just a week! This straw buildup represents 3 months of accumulated bedding. As this 'experiment' is working, we will continue with it and our geese will be healthy and warm through the winter, and we will have the bonus of less mucking out to do - truly a permaculture solution.

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