When we first got chickens we decided on using deep litter with pine shavings. Its worked relatively well as far as keeping it smelling fresh and keeping bugs away. But it doesnt seem to break down very fast like some blogs have shown. Now I only had 5 hens who would only spend the night and be outside most of the time. So maybe thats why. I pretty much added a bail of shavings once a month for the last year. Once in awhile id take a big fork tool and stir up the bedding before i added the new. Today I'm doing the annual big cleanout. Leaving 1/3 of the old bedding as advised. To keep the good bacteria going. Im also switching to wheat straw as its cheaper. But do I even need to scoop out so much? Its hardley broken down...its 12 inch thick right now. Maybe i could just take half. Stir it up and add a few inches of straw.... I now have 13 hens. 8 are not yet in the roosts at night but have full coop acess and outdoor access all day. They are about 9 weeks old.