BUGS IN COOP BEDDING? GUH-ROSS!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chellyroo, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. chellyroo

    chellyroo In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2009
    South Carolina
    I realize this is not a coop construction post, but I really wasn't sure where else to post it so-- sor-ree! I've got 9 (at the moment) chickens, 12 weeks old, in an approx. 4W x 6L coop. I've been using the deep litter method inside, wood shavings. I keep it about 4 inches deep, and every week or so I use my dustpan to scoop under to the bottom layer and bring it to the top, then mix it all up a little. I wasn't doing anything, at first, except adding new shavings when it looked like it was too low, but then it started getting a bad ammonia smell. Well, yesterday I was doing my little scoop-n-flip thing, and, as usual, I brought out any real hardened clumps to put in my compost; when I really looked at what was in the dustpan, I saw all these little BUGS moving all over the place. [​IMG] It wasn't maggot, but I don't know what they are. Is this normal? Am I not following the right steps for DLM?
     
  2. mrbstephens

    mrbstephens Songster

    Sounds about right, but you don't need to add shavings so often. Stir it us once a week. Add to the top once a month AND and diatomaceous earth. It'll dry out the poop and kill any bugs. It's all natural and won't harm you or the chicks. Just try not to breathe in too much dust, it can be irritating. Make sure your bedding isn't getting wet from any leaks in the coop or from the waterer. Good luck!
     
  3. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

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    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    You need to downsize how many chickens are in there first, that will cut out mess. A 6x4 should have 6 chickesn. If some are bantam, then it's fine. Add DE to the coop. It sounds maybe like termites. How much ventilation does your coop have?
     
  4. chellyroo

    chellyroo In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2009
    South Carolina
    Quote:My mistake on the number, we have 8 right now, and one we are pretty certain is a rooster, though he hasn't crowed yet; as soon as he does, he's outta there! Of those left, one is an RIR, one Barred Rock, one Brown Leghorn,two Gold Sexlinks and two Buttercups. I'm not sure if the Butter cups are bantam, but they are a lot smaller than the others.

    I put out DE over the bedding as well as the run litter just a few days ago, which was the first time. Took me a while to find food grade.

    Ventilation consistes of a space about 3 in wider running along the back wall of the coop up near the roof line. The guy who built it assured us it was all we needed. I will try to get some pics of everything and post them.

    Appreciate the replies![​IMG]
     
  5. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

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    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    You need cross ventilation.
     
  6. chellyroo

    chellyroo In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2009
    South Carolina
    Ok I got some pics, hopefully I can figure out how to post them:

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    One problem I know needs attention is the area below the roost bar; because of the coop being enclosed in the dog kennel, I couldn't have a long single droppings bar to pull out and scrape each morning. I thought I had it figured out by putting two pieces of a board under the roost, but the problem is it gets covered with all the shavings, so I haven't even scraped it once. The wire above the feeder is to keep them from roosting above the feeder. I thought about putting the feeder and waterer under the coop, but it's only about 18 inches above the ground and I figure they would end up getting all kinds of crap in them.

    Any more suggestions? Thanks!
     
  7. SimplyForties

    SimplyForties Songster

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    May 4, 2009
    Carroll County, Va
    You really need more ventilation in there. Could you run a shelf under the perch and put your droppings board on that?

    You've got some good looking chickens!
     
  8. annek

    annek Songster

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    Mar 12, 2009
    Who ever built that coop couldn't of been familiar with chickens in south carolina, it is so hot and humid here I don't know how your chickens are surviving in that coop. Is it open all of the time to the outside, if not you are going to have some dead chickens. First thing I would worry about is that you said you have an ammonia smell, that means your chickens are breathing that in all the time. You will have respiratory problems unless you put lots more vents in. Get out a circular saw and cut a nice 2'x3' (at least) window on each side of the coop, then put a piece of hardware cloth over it and finish with a wood frame to hold the mesh so it can't be pulled off. It will make it much more comfortable. In my part of SC we are going to be having 100 by this weekend, if you are closing them up with this kind of heat they will die. I have a fan in the window for cooling which helps but they still pant.

    Another nice thing to add to the shavings is sweet pdz, it is used in horse stalls and will take care of the ammonia. Boots bridles and britches carries it here along with some other horse places. I am thrilled with it.
     
  9. chellyroo

    chellyroo In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2009
    South Carolina
    Quote:Well, that seems feasible...I'm just wondering if it is the length of the roost bar, how will I get it out? Seems like it would be a hassel to get it out the door (it's rather small, in my opinion).

    How would you all suggest I go about getting more ventilation? This coop is made of thick, cedar boards.

    Lastly, thank you! The farmer that sold us the chicks (and made the coop) saw them when they were about 8 weeks and said he had never seen chicks that age so big and healthy. But he also said he does not free feed his chickens because he has over 100; I guess they get fed once a day. Mine have food avail all day.
     
  10. chellyroo

    chellyroo In the Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2009
    South Carolina
    Quote:Actually, the farmer that sold us the chicks and built the coop lives about 35 miles from us, in Starr, SC. [​IMG] But he's just a good ole boy that has a farm where his chickens can roam all over and only go in the coop when they want. I doubt he knows all the dos and don't about raising chickens in the suburbs!

    We keep the coop open all the time. We have made the run virtually (I stress virtually) preador-proof with wiring over the top, extra wiring along the bottom 18 inches or so of the run, and concrete bricks around the perimiter. We don't really have any problem with predators here, we're in a subdivision with a little bit of woods around. So far, no prob. Funny thing is, the chickens spend a LOT of time, voluntarily, in the coop. Not that they don't get out and scratch around in the run, but I have been surprised at how often I look out and they are inside the coop.

    Do you think your suggestion for the windows will work on the cedar planks? I have zero carpenter skills so it will fall to my husband to do anything, these boards are just so thick and heavy I have a hard time imagining a "window" cut out. And will that not let in rain?

    I;ve been seeing that sweet pdz mentioned inposts. I will have to check it out.

    Thanks again for the replies! Soooo helpful!
     

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