Argh! Dusty, dusty, dusty

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by coolcanoechic, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. My coop is small, and I am still pretty new to chickens. When I first built my coop, I put sand in it with some DE mixed in. I would scoop out a couple of poops every day when I got home from work. It worked well, but the girls loved dust bathing in there. There was a tremendous amount of dust left on everything and I soon realized this cannot be good for them to breathe. [​IMG]

    So I took all of the sand out and replaced it with chopped straw that I got cheap at the end of the summer from the hardware store up the street. It stays nice and dry and smells sweet, but again, the girls love scratching around in it, and there is still lots of dust in the coop every day when I get home from work to clean it. Is this much dust normal? Do wood chips create less dust? I have not tried them yet, because the straw works so well. I only have 2 girls to clean up after, so poop is minimal and the coop is well made so water leakage from the weather will never be a problem. It is very, very dry in the coop.

    Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I should open the extra window vents to let fresh air in during the day? The pop door is open all day and there is a vent in the ceiling of the coop. It is winter here, so I have been keeping the windows closed to give them a refuge from the cold and wind.

    Any ideas would be most appreciated. I really don't want to spend money on wood chips if they will end up being just as dusty. You can see pictures of my coop on my page.

    Thanks everyone!
  2. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    The chickens themselves generate A LOT of dust. It's a natural shedding kind of thing from their feathers. I know when I remember when I first got mine as little ones. I had the brooder in my basement. I was amazed at the dust they generated, and I was told it's normal. You could open up your coop a little more for more fresh air, but your going to see everything still will be dusty. My coop has a whole wall wide open and the coop is still really dusty. I don't think the chickens really mind, It's not like the air is clogged with dust. Better dry and dusty than damp and moldy.

  3. Really? That much dust from 2 chickens? Who would have thought it.
    By the way, I looooove your coop!
  4. riverpilot69

    riverpilot69 Chirping

    Mar 22, 2011
    SE Missouri
    If you own chickens you are gonna have dust. The dander off of the birds alone will coat everything inside of a small coop. you could install a $13.00 bathroom vent fan in the coop if you have electricity near by.
  5. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Yeah, like I was saying about when I had the chicks in the basement. Man they put out a lot of dust. I had to clean the dust build up off the heatlamp practically everyday, it was crazy. It was a happy day to get them out of there. When I clean out my coop, I HAVE to wear a respirator, when I start shoveling the stuff out of there, the dust flies. It's like pouring out of the windows. I'm glad I only have to do that twice a year. And thanks for the coop compliment, you have a cool coop yourself, nice colors.
  6. I do have electricity all over the place in the coop. I can install a fan, no problem. I wonder if dust would clog it quickly though.
    It sounds like a good idea, cause the summer here gets pretty hot and muggy and it might be a good way to keep the air moving through the coop really well. Storing in the back of my mind for future reference!
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    I read about folks fussing about dust from sand. The dust I can't stand is dried poop and straw or hay. To me their is much more dust there than sand. True sand has dust, but to me it's the least amount of all. It's just inherent with chickens today in confined spaces. They are gonna dust bath somewhere. Why not give them something outside to play in?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012

  8. They have the same set up outside in their run. It's sand with some hay over it to try to keep the dust down. That didn't work. They love to dust bathe out there too, which leaves tons of dust on everything...... I set up the corner of their run with some nice garden dirt to dig in and they use that too. Guess they just love luxuriating in the stuff!
  9. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    My sand isn't dusty...I got it from the creek. Would rinsing it get the dust out?
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Rinsing the sand pretty much takes care of any dust from the sand. Wood chips work pretty well until stomped on and kicked around - chook `dander is attracted to the chips and then added to the air when kicked around; straw, if shaken when removed from bale is a little better, initially. An N-95 rated mask will ease your own exposure. Our 6 yr. old hens aren't wheezing, yet (coop can be pretty dang dusty but at its worst is pure mountain air when compared to the flock dust bathing, in concert, in the fire pit).

    Only `dust' we make sure to keep out of the coop is that from food (feeders off of floor with catch pans for any beaked out crumbles). Microbes sucking on damp feed dust, then inhaled by the chooks can be deadly.

    Leave any spider webs up in corners of coop until sagging with dander/dust then swirl them out with some feathers twisty-tied on the end of a stick.

    Fans used in summer should be placed outside of coop over a window, pulling air out of coop (not blowing through coop).
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

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