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Our run is filled with stinky sand - any ideas??? - Page 2

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenhen165 View Post

Thanks everyone for your feedback!  It seems I've struck a chord with the deep litter fans. Creating an ecosystem that rids your coop of that nasty smell and provides beautiful compost makes a lot of sense.  Unfortunately our set up is not deep enough to allow the various layers required for deep litter.  I've done a little more digging around in the forum on this topic and will most likely try replacing a few inches of the top layer with fresh sand and then try some PDZ to see if that works.

I don'lt know your set up, but what makes you think your set is not deep enough for Deep Litter? Could you post a pic, maybe that would help us visualize better.

Like Wise Woman ^^^, I often wondered why sand is so heavily promoted, I could see it working in an arid climate where the poo practically dries before it hits the ground then turns to dust. But I can't see it working in an area like mine (Midwest) where we have a lot of rain and high humidity. We have a poop board under our roost, only takes me 5 minutes to sift and dump it into a bucket. The poop board is filled with PDZ and the poop sits on top so I imagine a floor of sand would be the same. With the deep bedding (pine shavings) in the coop and deep litter (lawn clippings, leaves, hay & straw) in the run, the poop drops through and dries up. We have no problems with odor or flies. If we get a lot of rain blowing into the run, and things start smelling funky, we fluff it with a stall fork to help dry things out which takes care of it.

Here is what our run looks like...




And some of that beautiful compost...

2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post

That will not work long term...or for very long at all.
If you're going to take out a few inches of sand, replace it with organic materials instead of more sand.
Almost any kind of wood chips (tho chips from tree trimmings are best), some straw, some dry leaves, some dry(or fewer fresh) grass clippings.
Spread a thin layer, and inch or so,and let the birds scratch it into the remaining sand....soon most will be invisible, then you can add more.
I think you will notice very quickly a reduction of odor...that was my experience with a bare, sandy soil in the run that reeked when wet.
I couldn't/can't get a lot of material at once, so I just add stuff as I get it......still don't have 'deep' litter but it definitely helps.

I emphatically agree!

"Deep litter" or not, what you are missing is microbes that are usually present in organic material... ie, leaves, sticks, grass, woid chips etc.. without microbes to break down the waste, wetting or removing the sand will only make it worse... think of it as a big compost pile; it shouldn't stink, and it should have lots of life in it; little insects and microbes to break it down into healthy soil.

I have one coop set up on a sandy area, and I usually dump some straw in there along with shavings from the brooders and lots of vrggie scraps, leftover pumpkins etc. They kick all that around and get air moving to help speed the process.

The sand isn't the problem, IMO. its the lack of organic material. Even a couple of bags of leaves would do wonders smile.png
Edited by shortgrass - 5/23/16 at 4:57am
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
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http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
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post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortgrass View Post

The sand isn't the problem, IMO. its the lack of organic material......

Well, technically sand is organic....... but not much can live in it.  :D

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #14 of 15
I’m in a hurry to leave for a trip so I’ll try to be brief. The problem is not so much the tool (sand) as how it is used. Did you dig a bathtub and fill it with sand so the water has no place to go? Wet is usually the problem much more than anything else. Wet poop will stink, dry poop doesn’t. Sometimes if the weather sets in wet there’s just not much you can do with any run but if you can keep it dry you generally don’t have a problem. If the sand is elevated where the water has a place to drain to it usually works really well.

Is your chicken density so thick that the poop is building up? People in that situation often do need to scoop poop to keep it from building up. I it builds up enough it will hold its moisture.

You can try throwing other material in there to compost but a compost pile stinks if it is too wet. Think on how you can get the water out if it is stinking or think about chicken density.

I’ll be gone a week so I’ll probably not check back in until then. Good luck!

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenhen165 View Post
 

Thanks everyone for your feedback!  It seems I've struck a chord with the deep litter fans. Creating an ecosystem that rids your coop of that nasty smell and provides beautiful compost makes a lot of sense.  Unfortunately our set up is not deep enough to allow the various layers required for deep litter.  I've done a little more digging around in the forum on this topic and will most likely try replacing a few inches of the top layer with fresh sand and then try some PDZ to see if that works.

I am not sure what you mean by a deep enough set up.  You aren't going to let this accumulate for years on end or make layers like in a compost pile.   Prior to me losing my mind and switching to sand in my current coop, we did deep litter in 3 different coops and runs and none of them were deep.  Our runs usually had 2 x 4's run along the bottom of our fencing and the litter never came close to top of the 2 x 4's.  

 

 We cleaned the coop and run out twice a year.  All the litter from the coop went into the run.  The chickens would then turn that into gorgeous compost.  We would then rake the compost out of the run and then clean out the coop and put everything from the coop into the run and start the process over.  During the six months the litter is in the coop, we would add a fresh layer of shavings every couple of weeks or so.  It never piled up all that high and if it did get higher than we wanted, we would just take some out and throw it into the run.  Remember, the chickens are constantly walking on and turning the litter for you.  You don't see or smell the droppings.  It is so easy this way.

 

Now when I walk into my coop each morning, I am greeted with disgusting piles of poop laying on the poop board and the smell hits you in the face immediately.   The sweet PDZ gets full of bits and pieces that are too small for my scooper to pick up and it never looks clean ever.  I have to scoop poop every single day because if I don't, I get poop mountains within 2 or 3 days.  The same thing happens to the floor.  I guess this method is ok if you only have 2 or 3 chickens or you enjoy scooping chicken poop each day.  I have 14 chickens and do not prefer to scoop poop of any kind.   Now instead of enjoying going out to the coop each morning feed the girls and gather eggs, I gag at the sight of all that poop, don a mask and gloves (the dust sand and sweet PDZ makes is incredible) and spend at least 10 minutes scooping poop. EVERY DAY!      

 

I am building a new coop/run this summer and the foundation of my run will only be 1 cinder block or about 8" high.  The deep liter will never get that high.  I put the litter from the coop into the run in a pile and within a couple days you can't even tell it was ever there.  The  chickens are going to do all the work for you.  In my experience, there aren't layers of different materials.  I only ever put in what I had around my yard.  Leaves if I had them, pine needles, scraps from the kitchen, the bedding from the coop and a bale or two of hay left over from the Halloween decorations.  I live in the forest and we have no lawns so there are no grass clippings and not a lot of garden trimmings.  I never layered anything at all. 

 

I don't mean to preach here, but I think people are being mislead about sand and are thinking it is some miracle chicken bedding and it is not.  I have had chickens for 15 years now in 4 different coops and in my opinion the sand option just has too many drawbacks and is way too labor intense.  It also doesn't produce a useful product like the deep litter method does.  I do hope you find a method that works well for you.  I am sorry this is so long, but hate to see people struggling with a method that is never going to work well when there is a simple, natural method available that has stood the test of time and works in harmony with the humans, the chickens and the garden.  Good luck to you!


Edited by Wise Woman - 5/23/16 at 5:40pm

 

 

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