Ammonia smell in coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CountryCentinel, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. CountryCentinel

    CountryCentinel Out Of The Brooder

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    We have had our flock since Nov 9th of 2011, so they are just over 3 months old.

    We change their pine shavings regularly, as needed, and everything has gone very well.

    In fact the coop has really been a pretty sanity place, for a coop, and any smells aside from a slight chicken odor have been absent.

    We just changed the bedding last weekend, and yesterday, as I opened the coop to let the girls out for the day, (they are free ranged), I noticed a distinct ammonia smell, and this morning I noticed it again?

    Food and water are ample, nothing has really changed at all...

    Any ideas about whats going on or what if anything I should be doing about this?

    Thanks ya'll.
     
  2. ontimeborzoi

    ontimeborzoi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, its probably either too many chickens for the coop size, or you need a LOT more ventilation. Or both.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    The ammonia smell is common and comes from the manure.
    There are two things here. One is ventilation. That's the most important consideration in housing after predators. I try to shoot for 1 sq. ft. per bird. It sounds like a lot but the only reason to have housing is predation and perhaps rain. They are outdoor animals. Except for hot climate breeds they can handle cold but not bad air. They have little respiratory systems that are easily damaged.
    A week after building my first coop I realized the ventilation was inadequate and got out the circular saw and made windows from stud to stud.
    The second thing is the bedding. I don't know why but sometimes I can go a long time without replacing bedding (like 6 months) and sometimes I get the ammonia smell after only 2. The amount of shavings probably makes a difference.

    If you can smell ammonia they are having a problem. Replace the bedding and make bigger windows.
     
  4. CountryCentinel

    CountryCentinel Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmmm, coop is plenty big, ventilation could be improved however I suppose, as we do live in a cold area and I have the coop pretty tight right now to help keep them warm.

    My concern was that this was not happening, at all, and all of a sudden, there it was.

    I thought maybe the shavings we bought that time were reacting in a weird way...

    You could be right tho, they are getting big now and may be producing more....ammonia?
     
  5. CountryCentinel

    CountryCentinel Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, will open up more ventilation, and change the bedding.

    Thanks!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Where is CDA and what kind of birds do you have?
     
  7. CountryCentinel

    CountryCentinel Out Of The Brooder

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    Coeur D'Alene Idaho, and the roster of my gang is in my signature below... ;-)
     
  8. ontimeborzoi

    ontimeborzoi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In general, cold is not an issue for the chickens, only for their keepers. They have 24/7 down coats on. As long as the wind can't howl thru their house, they will be fine. Read the posts from Alaskan poultry keepers! : ) Ventilate.
     
  9. CountryCentinel

    CountryCentinel Out Of The Brooder

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    I feel better, ventilation is in the works, and my anxiety is in check, thanks to you guys, thx!

    Will report back with the results.
     

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