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Deep Litter. In order to fulfill EPA regulations that require an impervious bottom to all waste handling facilities, there must be either a concrete slab or a thick (30 mil) plastic liner as the base of the building. Green waste, with a minimum depth of 4 feet, is then strategically layered to start the IDLS. The first layer consists of roughly a half foot of cinders mixed with bio-char (not charcoal briquettes). The second layer consists of 2 feet of cut logs. Logs should be at least 3 to 4 feet long and can range in diameter from 2” or more (larger, longer logs deter pigs from rooting them to the surface). The third layer is comprised of either leaves or fronds covered with assorted green waste. The next step is too lightly spread about one pound of IMO-4 and soil to every 50 square feet of surface area in the IDLS pen. For example, a 100 sq ft pen will require 2 pounds of IMO-4 applied in the third layer. The final step is to add about a half foot of sawd ust. Two weeks before introducing animals into the pens, activate the microbes once with a mist spray of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and fermented plant Juice (FPJ). You can add animals to the pen once you smell a yeasty odor in the litter, a sign that the microbes have been activated and are at work in the pen.

Micro-organisms: The only micro-organisms used are self-collected by the producer from the specific site of the facility. The profile of indigenous micro-organisms may vary greatly from place to place, from windward to leeward coasts, and even between neighboring properties. The initial, one-time misting with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and fermented plant juice (FPJ) activates the microbes to increase in numbers. To learn how to make these activators, please attend a Natural Farming Input-Making class, or contact the Hawaiʻi Cooperative Extension Service (mduponte@hawaii.edu).