Ammonia buildup, seemingly overnight?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jeffross1968, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I have two coops. One has a dirt floor, the other is raised off the ground. I've used the deep litter method since June. I have my head in both coops daily. Yesterday, seemingly all of a sudden, both coops developed an amazingly strong smell of ammonia, which I know can happen, but found it weird that it happened so quickly. I've dealt with both, cleaned them out and added new bedding. But I guess I don't understand how it happened so abruptly.

    Has anyone else experienced it like this? Strange both coops getting it the same day...
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Increase in air temp and relative humidity, combined with little or no wind (ventilation in coops) can raise a choking miasma in short order.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  3. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2011
    Crossville, Tennessee
    I got that overnight when the rain blew into the coop and soaked it. I just stirred it really well and then top-dressed it with more dry matter. I am about to pull it all out (maybe today) and use it on the garden. I am excited. Got the goat pen and the chicken pen to use on the garden.

    This years flowers and veggies should be even more fantastic than last years!
  4. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Western Mass
    I saw a coop in a magazine the other day where the lady had a chimney pipe about a foot off the ground that ran up the wall and vented outside. It said that the warm damp air near the floor would create enough draft in the pipe to remove the extra moisture and ammonia fumes in the coop, especially when using a deep litter method.
  5. OldRoo

    OldRoo Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2011
    This idea works, have used it in horse stalls to remove damp smelling orders
  6. mtdream33

    mtdream33 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2010
    Northwest Montana
    Same thing happened to me. I'm chicken-sitting for neighbor's 6 hens until May. She has a tiny coop with a pop door that is open 24/7, as well as circular vents on north and south sides. About four days ago when I opened the top flap to stir shavings and collect eggs, the ammonia just about knocked me out. This, even when I stir twice a day and add shavings when I deem necessary. Today, since it's the weekend I chose to remove all the shavings and add new. I could tell it wasn't going to get better! Even with all the airflow and constant stirring, my opinion is that her coop is just so small it's going to be necessary to do this at times. An added annoyance is the water container that is sitting on the heating thingy, is not very far above the shavings so when I change the water I constantly get overflow in the coop because the coop isn't large enough to remove the two gallon waterer. I have to take the top off, lift the base, rinse it, place it back on the heater pan, then fill, then replace the cover. When I replace it, no matter how slowly I push it back down, the water squirts from the trough into the coop. Then I have to remove wet shavings.

    On the upside, I know now that I won't be getting the same type of waterer for my flock. She's limited because of the size of the coop. I wish I could hang it, but no dice.

    At least I have lots of compost cooking right now!
  7. reksat

    reksat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2011
    This happened to me the other day, and my coop up until this day, this has never happened and the only thing that i can narrow it down to is that its been very wet here over the last couple weeks and the humidity is high. I stirred it up yesterday and checked it today and it seems fine.Wet weather and elevated humidity i guess.
  8. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Yeah, I guess that could be it because we've been insanely wet for this time of year. I cleaned out both coops and added fresh shavings. They hadn't been emptied since late June anyway, so it was time.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    When there is an extended period of wet weather, shavings can soak up humidity from just the saturated air in the coop, not to mention the wet feet and feathers on the birds coming in from outside. When that happens, ammonia can build quickly.
  10. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2011
    Choking miasma? Tell me more! I found a chicken dead in my coop yesterday. She was less than a year old. I performed a necropsy on her today and found nothing wrong other than an empty crop. She was farthest away from the vent. I have sand in my coop and clean all the poop every day. Can't figure out why she croaked.

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