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Keep them smelling fresh

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
So I have a large hen house with 28 hens and inside that a smaller pen with a rooster and trio of small hens and then across the yard a coop that holds at the moment 7 hens and a rooster comfortably and both coop and henhouse have large walk in pens on them. Then I have a chicken tractor that at the moment houses a rooster but will house the extra cockerels this year that equate to meat birds so it's out of the way... Long story short that's 42-43? Large birds and inside 2 brooders & 2 incubators and well it gets a bit smelly though we clean and clean and clean... So in the summer it's like 75-80 birds and it's hot and... Well what can I do to actually make it's smell much better- herbs- a special way to clean? Thoughts all appreciated...
post #2 of 6

Well, stocking density plays a big role - and that's a LOT of birds to be kept in runs/contained.  In the runs, good drainage is critical - do you have that?  Frequent raking of poo.  I'd keep an ample supply of DE on hand and sprinkle that about to help keep things dry.

 

Inside, the same thing - do you use dropping boards???  Those will help keep it sooo much cleaner inside - the only time I smell anything is first thing in the morning, when all the collected poo is waiting for me - I scrape that into a bucket with a plastic drywall knife.  Dropping boards really save your bedding!  I'd also sprinkle DE inside, mixed with the bedding - maybe once a week or so...

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #3 of 6
The more room your chickens have the better. Moisture is our enemy in coops. Have plenty of ventilation. Chickens as you know poop a lot at night. When I had a smaller coop I had a poop box with PDZ/Stall refresher under the roost that was cleaned out like a cat litter box. This helped tremendously. It has odor neutralizing qualities. It can be spread on the floor of the coop with the shaving or what ever you have on the floors but for me I wouldn't use it on the ground unless it is an area the stays dry or is not going to get rained on it can be messy. Some people use deep litter method and say they don't have smell issues but you need to be able to add fresh hay or what ever you are using often. Thespoiledchicken on here started a good thread on the stall refresher. It is where I got the idea from if you would like to look it up. Hope this helps.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks! The hen house is as large as one of our bedrooms - very good size... Lots of perches and about 30 nest boxes, it's a small barn... The pen is larger than the hen house and I think moisture in the pen might be the issue. The house itself gets cleaned out a lot and we did do the deep litter method through the winter but cleaned it out come spring... It's not like oh man that stinks but when you get up within a foot it's a very big wow do you have a pig in there or something smell. The pen isn't covered, I do let them out but the pen is for their safety and we haven't lost anyone to predation from these pens so I like them but it's not covered so they dig in there and then it's mud and then it's just been so rainy... We try laying things down but it's just so wet! The coop is up on stilts and it can hold about 3-5 more birds comfortably depending... It used to house 11 jumbo guineas and it was plenty of space it's big enough to have rafters but I only have 7 hens in there so it's only got one nest box. That run is dryer even though it's rainy and they can go under the coop and hang out but the pen is large for that amount of birds... We are going to add tunnel runs on there so they can really cover ground. I use wood chips sometimes but mostly hay and I do use de sometimes. Lots of ventilation - maybe I should make sure all the flaps and hatches are open. Would be nice maybe I cut out some grass and put a whole new grass level in the largest coop I think that maybe that would dry things up long enough while they tore that apart. There are lots of perches and they get lots of treats. But it is a lot of birds to have enclosed. We won't be adding many to the enclosure for sure but we are going to add some free rangers. We are on over 5 acreas against large acerages on every side and behind us is hundreds of acreas of farm and state forest so we aren't limited by space just it's keeping them from the foxes sad.png they do get out to run and forage often but it's been such a wet and cold spring sad.png we are in nys if that matters...
post #5 of 6
Oh to have 5 acres! Why would you add more chickens to let free range? Why not let the chicks you have run free? I fenced my half acre for many reasons but I made it 6ft tall for my chickens. You could add a fenced area for yours to have time out of the run. There are many options....even T posts with chicken wire just for the day time. I used round wood posts and welded wire. Anyway, my point is that the more time the chickens have to spend the less poo you will have to contend with in a smaller space. You could also add some sand in, maybe after a clean out till in sand to help the drainage. Hard to give specific ideas without seeing it. We are have wet spring in arkansas as well and I am even getting run off in my coop do to the hard rains. If you could add separate runs you could alternate as well. So many options. But since you are having issues at this point I would down size my flock that would help if you don't want to add more space.. I would love to have way more chickens but I don't have the space. My coop is 10X32 welded wire and hardware cloth. Very open. A small area I have walled to keep the wind and rain off when they are on the roost. A 10X30 run on the left and a 10X40 run on the right with a gate to let them in the rest of the fenced yard with another fence to keep my porch poo free. I have 13 chickens.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubie View Post

Oh to have 5 acres! Why would you add more chickens to let free range? Why not let the chicks you have run free? I fenced my half acre for many reasons but I made it 6ft tall for my chickens. You could add a fenced area for yours to have time out of the run. There are many options....even T posts with chicken wire just for the day time. I used round wood posts and welded wire. Anyway, my point is that the more time the chickens have to spend the less poo you will have to contend with in a smaller space. You could also add some sand in, maybe after a clean out till in sand to help the drainage. Hard to give specific ideas without seeing it. We are have wet spring in arkansas as well and I am even getting run off in my coop do to the hard rains. If you could add separate runs you could alternate as well. So many options. But since you are having issues at this point I would down size my flock that would help if you don't want to add more space.. I would love to have way more chickens but I don't have the space. My coop is 10X32 welded wire and hardware cloth. Very open. A small area I have walled to keep the wind and rain off when they are on the roost. A 10X30 run on the left and a 10X40 run on the right with a gate to let them in the rest of the fenced yard with another fence to keep my porch poo free. I have 13 chickens.
Sounds like a great set up you have there smile.png I do let them out when we are out but between the fox nest, great horned owl, local dogs, hawks and general critters like bob cats and coyotes (we are right against a huge forest and all these have been seen in the last year) and having lost guinea fowl to them we decided the birds needed to be penned and I had no smell before this year, winter wasn't that cold and it's been so rainy and it's just the one coop... Maybe just needs a good post winter scrubbing?
In the spring we do a pen of meat bird cockerels that are enclosed so they don't run off and if we have extra pullets they can run loose maybe till they sell or whatever, they eat bugs and are fun to see running around but it's best not to get attached to loose birds here :-/ though it's hardly any cost to keep them and they do a great job keeping tidy!! But... We practice a strict bio security so we don't let our birds socialize with other peoples birds or birds that have been to the pond cause geese and ducks and what not. But we are still turning this place into a farm and the land needs to be tended and birds do wonderfully!
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