Tue. Sep 27th, 2022


  • In this system, the birds are reared in a confined area.
  • Birds can be maintained on floor, slat or in cages.
  • Movement is restricted in a room, cage or in a fenced area.
  • The house could be open with curtain system or it can be an environmentally controlled house.
  •  All the requirements and facility for the bird should be provided in the house
  • Birds can’t find their own feed or have limited access to ground to collect their feed.
  • So always quality balanced feed and water should be given
  • Clean potable water is provided by means of automatic drinkers such as nipple drinkers or hanging type bell drinkers
  •  Balanced poultry ration specific to that species and age group should be given

Deep litter system

  • It is the cheapest method
  • It can also be reared in environmentally controlled house[ECH]
  • The litter materials that are provided act as bedding for the birds by keeping them warm and comfortable
  • Roof is built of required materials at a particular height so that with any type of climate birds are not stressed
  • Poultry birds are kept in large pens on floor, mainly for broilers
  • Floor is covered with litters such as straw, sawdust or leaves up to depth of 2-3 inches of good quality
  • Bird density: – 5-7 birds per square meter
  • Easy access for feed, water, egg collection, provide good protection

  • Litter materials used are: –
  • Wood shavings
  • Peanut hulls
  • Paddy husk
  • Pine straw
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded sugarcane

Qualities of a good litter material

  • Nontoxic to the birds
  • Free of contaminants [pesticides & metals]
  • Good absorbent
  • Have a reasonably short drying time
  • Have reduced thermal conductivity
  • Readily available & relatively inexpensive

         For every small flock producer, the choice of litter is based on the appropriateness, availability & cost of the material


  •  Deep litter is a good insulation material. Protects bird from extreme climate.
  •  When all other factors are equal, layers produce more eggs on deep litter than in cage systems.
  •  Chickens can be brooded and kept through their productive lives in the same house.
  •  Deep litter allows the bird to dust itself against lice and other parasites
  •  Litter as a source of the food supply.
  • Safety of birds
  • Disease control
  • Labour saving
  • The valuable fertilizer
  • Hot weather safeguard
  • Built-up litter supplies vitamin B12 & Riboflavin to the birds
  • It is economical
  • Hygienic


  • There is a greater chance of worm and tick infestation and coccidiosis (internal protozoan parasites) than with cages or raised floor system
  • The deep – litter system is inappropriate for very humid areas (80 – 90% humidity) damp litter spreads diseases
  • The litter must be turned often, particularly in damp weather, and this requires more labour than other contained systems
  • Sometimes adequate litter is difficult to obtain

Recommendations –

Deep litter is recommended for both meat birds and layers

  • Stir up the bedding to break up any clumps every few days.
  • Never use diatomaceous earth or chemical insecticides in the coop bedding. This will kill the beneficial microbes & nematodes.
  • The beneficial microbes help to prevent infestation of mites and lice in the flock
  • Keep layering clean bedding, on top of the old bedding
  • Clean out most of the bedding once a year
  • The deep litter system should always keep dry
  • Only right numbers of birds should be housed 
  • The house should be well ventilated 
  • Placing of water should be given due attention to keep litter dry
  • Wet litter if any should be replaced immediately with new dry litter
  •  Birds must be fed a balanced ratio
  • The time starting deep litter system should be in the dry period of the year as it allows sufficient time (At least two months) for bacterial action

Floor space requirements for chicken

EGG TYPE0-80.60 sq.ft.
9-181.25 sq.ft.
>181.50 sq.ft.
Meat Type/
0-40.30 sq.ft.
4-80.75 sq.ft.

By admin

2 thoughts on “Deep litter system of Poultry Rearing”
  1. Interested to raise broiler chickens on deep litter. Please advise the following from brooding to target market weight:
    1) Amount of feed consumed per bird to reach target market weight.
    2) Quantity and type of manual feeders and drinkers per 100 chicks

    1. A broiler chicken attains 2 kg body weight in 35 days by eating 3.2 Kg feed in ideal conditions. Feed consumption varies with climate parameters, management practices etc. A standard adult feeder and a circular automatic bell-type hanging drinker are sufficient for 50 birds. But in many circumstances, it is advised for 30 birds. If you are planning for nipple drinkers, one nipple can serve 10 birds.

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