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Topic of the Week - Coop Bedding and Waste Management; Deep Litter Method etc.

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 

One thing any chicken keeper will tell you is that chickens can get messy and keeping the coop clean(ish) and not too smelly can be a challenge, especially over winter, when many of our birds prefer to spend their time indoors. This week I'd like to hear you all's thoughts on coop bedding, waste management etc. Specifically:

 

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

- How deep do you let it get?  

- How often do you clean it out?  

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience? 

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

 

 

 

For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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post #2 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumi View Post

One thing any chicken keeper will tell you is that chickens can get messy and keeping the coop clean(ish) and not too smelly can be a challenge, especially over winter, when many of our birds prefer to spend their time indoors. This week I'd like to hear you all's thoughts on coop bedding, waste management etc. Specifically:

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

Pine shavings under the roosts with a combination of dried leaves, grass, and hay in the middle of the floor.

- How deep do you let it get?  

About 5-6"

- How often do you clean it out?  

I turn it over every couple days. I clean it all out and replace it twice a year.

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

Bare dirt.

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

No board or hammock.

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your 

There is some organic material mixed in but not enough to call it DLM.


- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

I haven't tried anything extra yet.

My coop is basically a 3 sided pole barn. 16'x16' with one side completely open to the run. I built for our extreme southern heat, requiring max ventilation. Since my birds free range all day long, the only poop in the coop is under the roosting 3 roosting areas. It's pretty easy keeping the smells down.


 

For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
post #3 of 73
Originally Posted by sumi View Post

One thing any chicken keeper will tell you is that chickens can get messy and keeping the coop clean(ish) and not too smelly can be a challenge, especially over winter, when many of our birds prefer to spend their time indoors. This week I'd like to hear you all's thoughts on coop bedding, waste management etc. Specifically:

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?

I lay down a piece of cardboard and then on top of that I put about two to three inches of straw. I repurposed a storage bin as a coop. Its 5ft wide by 5 feet tall by 3 feet deep.

- How deep do you let it get?

About 2-3"

- How often do you clean it out?

I've only had them for 5 months (winter months only.) Its a small coop so the poo gets deep with the quickness. I completely clean the coop once a week. Its gets obliterated. I have 4 chickens: 2 brown orpingtons and 2 ameraucanas. I use a wheel barrel and bring the pooped up straw over to the garden area and dump it in. I plan to rototill it in this Spring.

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

Bare dirt.

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

Nope

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your

Nope


- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

Nothing. I clean weekly so there is no smell at all. Summer may be different.
Edited by Farmer Nick - 2/12/17 at 12:21pm
post #4 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumi View Post
 

One thing any chicken keeper will tell you is that chickens can get messy and keeping the coop clean(ish) and not too smelly can be a challenge, especially over winter, when many of our birds prefer to spend their time indoors. This week I'd like to hear you all's thoughts on coop bedding, waste management etc. Specifically:

 

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?

 

I use pine shavings, leaves, and straw 

 

- How deep do you let it get?

 

about 6 inches

 

- How often do you clean it out?

 

 I have not had to yet

 

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

 

wood , with vinyl over the wood

 

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

 

I use a hammock under the roost, I clean the hammock every morning so there no smell

 

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience?

 

my run is covered and enclosed with clear tar​ps on the sides

​I use the DLM in the run, I turn it over every couple weeks, along with the chickens help, that helps to keep the smell down. this is my first season using the DLM

 

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

 

​herbs ( rosemary, lavender and such ) in the coop, and nesting boxes. that seems to work well

 

 

 

For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive

post #5 of 73
Quote:
 

 

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

I use wood shavings.  My husband is a wood turner,  he processes trees from our land: walnut, cherry, osage, maple, cedar...I have had a steady supply of shavings.

-

How deep do you let it get?

About 6 to 8 inches, maybe more but they will  pack it down by walking on it.  You can throw in a big pile and the chickens will spread it out for you. 

 

- How often do you clean it out?  

About once a week or so, I scoop out the poop piles under the roosts.  The other areas stay pretty clean, I sweep the whole thing out every 3 mo or so.. The coop is 9'X5' and there are currently only 4 chickens.

 

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

The floor is wood, we recycled old  oak fence boards.

 

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

No poop boards, but as I said, I scoop out under the roosts whenever poop builds up.  This goes into the compost which finishes up rich and lovely.

 

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience? 

n/a

 

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

Nothing other than shavings.  The coop has good ventilation, if there is any odor, I scoop out the poop.  

 

Edited by SueT - 2/12/17 at 7:15am
post #6 of 73

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

​I use pine shavings, they aren't the best option but they are pretty cheap and work well enough.

 

- How deep do you let it get?  

Around 4-6 inches

 

- How often do you clean it out?  

At least once a month. I like to through scratch or feed in the coop so they will keep it turned and mixed not just caked in droppings.

 

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

Wood (painted with weather proof paint)

 

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

No

 

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience? 

No, but I've been meaning to try it one of these winters!

 

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

I like to put herbs as a natural way to keep the coop smelling fresh and as a bug repellant.

post #7 of 73

-Bedding in the coop: what do you use?

Dried leaves, straw, dried grass clippings, pine straw, straw, wood chips, and wood shavings. I also clean out the cows hay feeders and use the stemy hay they don't eat as bedding. I pretty much use anything I can get my hands on, except leafy hay which can cause crop binding if the chickens eat it.

 

- How deep do you let it get?

 12-18 inches thick.

 

- How often do you clean it out? 

I usually start deep bedding in the fall, and then clean it out the following spring.

 

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

My large fowl chickens, ducks, and turkeys are kept on pasture year around. I keep my bantams in a hoop house for the winter. It has a dirt floor.

 

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

No poop board. The dropping fall on the bedding.

 

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience? 

I use deep bedding, and have had a good experience with it. It beats cleaning the coop out constantly. I put a thin layer of fresh bedding down every day or two. I know some people that put a thick layer down only every week or two, but their coops always stink. I think it's better to put less down more often, then a lot down less often, unless you are using a high carbon bedding like wood chips, in which case you can get away with not adding new bedding as often.

 

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

I sprinkle both fresh and dried herbs in the coop. I also keep herbs in the nesting boxes.

~ Celia, a third generation Homesteader raising Chickens, Turkeys, and Ducks on an Off grid Homestead in rural Tennessee.

 

Never give up. While we still live there is hope. With God all things are possible.

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~ Celia, a third generation Homesteader raising Chickens, Turkeys, and Ducks on an Off grid Homestead in rural Tennessee.

 

Never give up. While we still live there is hope. With God all things are possible.

Reply
post #8 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumi View Post
 

One thing any chicken keeper will tell you is that chickens can get messy and keeping the coop clean(ish) and not too smelly can be a challenge, especially over winter, when many of our birds prefer to spend their time indoors. This week I'd like to hear you all's thoughts on coop bedding, waste management etc. Specifically:

 

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

chopped straw, leaves, pine needles, grass clippings

- How deep do you let it get? 

max. 5 inches or so

- How often do you clean it out?  

twice yearly - spring and fall with frequent rakings of litter between. Add bedding as needed

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

wood with hardware cloth under the floor

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

I use old industrial baking trays. Large enough for several perches, small enough to lift out. I have also used an old dismantled filing cabinet but the metal was very heavy.

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your experience? 

I used this the first year I had chickens. I found it hard work to 'muck out' since I have back issues.

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

I don't really have any moisture issues. My coops are within a barn structure so they stay reasonably dry. The baking trays are easy to pull out to remove the accumulated poop and I clean them off as frequently as needed.

 

 

 

 

For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive

Expat Brit living the dream - 40ish chickens, 2 Beagles, 2 cats, rabbits........and counting.

Blogger for: www.thehappychickencoop.com

 

    We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.     Mother Teresa

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Expat Brit living the dream - 40ish chickens, 2 Beagles, 2 cats, rabbits........and counting.

Blogger for: www.thehappychickencoop.com

 

    We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.     Mother Teresa

Reply
post #9 of 73

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

Hay, I buy either mulch hay or square bails for my coop

- How deep do you let it get?  

 

About 6-7 inches


- How often do you clean it out?  

I clean it once a month but take out the really bad stuff once a week to every two weeks

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)
Wood, my coop is an old shed turned coop

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?
no

- Anyone use the deep litter method? Tell us about your 
Lots and lots of hay and sawdust/wood shavings under the hay


- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)
Baking powder under the bedding, lots of fresh air on nice days, and a drip box for their waterer.
 

The coop I own used to be my mother in-laws storage barn/shed before she passed away. We have since converted it into a coop to house a total of 21 birds. Its a 10x12 barn with 2 opening windows and a screen door for extra ventilation. My fiance and I are installing a roof vent to help on those really cold days when the barn is closed up cause my birds are prissy and cannot be bothered to be out in the cold.
 

post #10 of 73

- Bedding in the coop: What do you use?  

Rye straw or wood shavings in winter, no bedding in the warmer months

 

- How deep do you let it get?  

About 2" to 4"

 

- How often do you clean it out?  

Inside: Summer: Once a week, winter, if it's not frozen, once a week to once a month.

Outside: A couple times a year I'll rake it out. I give them straw to kick around when it's cold out.

 

- What is your coop floor? (Earth, wood, protected wood.)

Wood inside, dirt outside.

 

- Do you use a poop board or something similar? If "yes", tell us more?

Yes. I use a plywood board under the roosts. It has a small hole in it that I can grab and slide out through the specially made door for that purpose, and then scrape it with a plastic putty knife into the tractor bucket.

 

- What products, beside bedding materials, do you use to keep smells/moisture under control? (For example lime, sweet PDZ)

Nothing necessary. If it gets damp, I add clean bedding and that takes care of it.

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