I'm in Zone 5 Quebec, Canada. We overwintered about 25-30 hens, using the deep bedding method throughout the winter. Every few days, I would sprinkle out half a bag of pine shavings or half a bale of straw and it would cover up the droppings that the girls had left behind. The floor of the coop got quite high by the end of the winter and now the girls have moved on to the pastures.
I transplanted 12 blueberry bushes (about 3-4 years old) last fall and mulched with compost and ramial wood chips. This spring, they've almost all disappeared which I know is good- full of worms and good microbes. But the weeds and grass are growing back in among the bushes. I've interplanted the blueberry bushes with strawberries and hope that eventually they will grow and cover the ground under the bushes.
Question is: can I use my overwintered deep bedding as a mulch in the more open spaces between the bushes and berries? I will avoid putting it too close to either since there might be a chance of the poop being too hot.
I started spreading and will get a picture to show what I mean.
This is great question.
I've read that blue berries like "poor" soil.
I've also read that they love being top dressed.
Another concern is how the chicken bedding will affect the PH of the soil?
I planted my blueberries in 55 gallon containers, and also used strawberries as the "cover crop.
Something ate them to the roots.
I think it was my chooks!
This is exactly what Richard Perkins has done for the past few years. He takes bedding from the hens he keeps in a poly tunnel all winter long and spreads it along his tree lanes (fruittrees interplanted with berry bushes) in the spring. I don't have personal experience with it, but I think it's a great idea. You've got the right idea keeping the trunk clear, too.
You can see this in action around 4:30 in this video: