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Ammonia smell...need help

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by animal nut, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. animal nut

    animal nut Songster

    Sep 11, 2008
    S. E Ohio
    I use the deep liter method in my coop. I currently have 5 hens and 16 - 11 week pullets.
    There is approximatly 5-7 inches of pine shavings in my coop. I stir them daily but I have the ammonia odor not real strong right now but getting there. What can I do to fix this situation? Do I need to clean the coop and replace with new bedding. I just got these chicks the last of Sept. so they have not been in the coop long.
  2. BayCityBabe

    BayCityBabe Songster

    May 1, 2008
    How big is your coop? Do they have access to a run? These are things that impact your cleanliness. Do you remove any of the poo on an ongoing basis? IMHO, if you haven't been taking anything out of your coop, three months if time for a Big Clean-up.
    I have 30 birds in a 12x14 coop witha big run. I remove clumps of poo and the shavings in dirty areas of the coop about once a week. Then I add new shavings. I have found that Stall-Dry really helps, too. Even with all that, DD & I get out the wheel-barrow, the shovels and face masks every other month or so.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Have you added any new litter, yet, or just stirred the old? How does the litter look? Dirty? How damp or dry is it? It could be that the litter is getting to the point that you need to add a layer of fresh litter on top.

    Some people add a layer on top monthly or every few weeks and continue to stir. I like to do a lighter sprinkling of fresh litter just over dirty parts, a couple of times a week and don't need to stir. I keep a feed scoop in a bag of shavings, in the corner.

    You could also clean it out and start over. Ammonia to me is a sign that you need fresh shavings added, with or without removing the old litter. It means there's an imbalance between the amount of chicken poop and the amount of shavings. In an unstirred litter, it can also mean that there are big blobs of chicken poop, sitting under the roosts, not combined into the litter.
  4. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Any water getting into your coop, either from a leaky roof or from watering containers? Moisture in the litter could contribute to an ammonia problem by encouraging active composting.

    How is your coop ventilated? Some ammonia is natural but ventilation should take care of it. A build of ammonia is a sign that you may need better airflow.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  5. ...and are you using any of the following in the litter to neutralize the ammonia?

    -Stable Boy
    -Stall DRI
    -food grade diatomaceous earth

    Keep it dry
    Spot clean as necessary
    check ventilation and water-tightness of coop
  6. animal nut

    animal nut Songster

    Sep 11, 2008
    S. E Ohio
    The coop is dry. I just added another layer of bedding. Maybe I do need some more venting. We closed everything up to allow the coop to stay warm. I thank all of you for your advise I will try them.
  7. Ventilation is the key!
  8. Chicken of the Sea

    Chicken of the Sea In the Brooder

    Jan 1, 2008
    Wellsboro, PA
  9. ChanceRider

    ChanceRider Songster

    Aug 19, 2008
    Somerset, CA
    One thing that's worked really well for me in keeping down the amount of poop in the litter is that I put in poop trays. Just beneath their roost I have a shelf that runs the length of the roosting board. On that shelf sit a couple of under-the-bed type plastic storage trays that I use shavings and DE in. Every few days or so I can add a bit more of each, then when needed I just dump the litter into my garden and start with a new layer.

    This has really cut down on the amount of poop on the coop floor. If I notice any odor at all it just means the trays need to be refreshed or dumped.
  10. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    I have added poop trays this and it has worked wonders !!!

    Great Idea !! and plus I just scrap it down and put it in a bucket..garbage can for next spring's gardens.....it freezes outside so it doesnt smell over the winter....I have new gardens so I want to use it to my benefit in the spring...GOLD GOLD GOLD!!!!

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