Buttons, My home smells like a chicken coop

Discussion in 'Quail' started by garett, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. garett

    garett Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2013
    I have 5 buttons total. Split into two large guinea pig cages. Ive had them since oct of last year. For the first month everything was fine. I didn't even change the pine shaving bedding that entire month. At the start of month 2 i changed the bedding replacing it with aspen. It's just what I happened to have on hand. By the next day there was a noticable oder. Noticable but not overpowering. At this point I was using open water dishes on the floor. About 2 weeks into the aspen i purchased tube waterers with a narrow trough for drinking and changed the bedding again but sticking with the aspen this time. Well the oder became increasingly strong. I decided to get rid of the aspen and go back to pine. The pine was flakeyer and finer in contrast to the aspen which was big chunkey and curly. I assumed the less absorbant aspen was the culprit of the smell. I was wrong. The smell continued to get worse and this last time i replaced the bedding I placed my usual generous 2-3 inches of shavings on top of a good amount of baking soda spead out over the plastic base. The baking soda did nothing. The smell is still so strong. It hits you in the face when you open the door to the room and smells like a filthy chicken coop, the kind with 10 inches of feces built up. I have them set ontop of glass jars flipped upside down to keep the troughs above the shavings. When i do change the bedding the shavings under the jars are damp and do have a bit of a mildew oder. But its not at all the same smell as the dirty coop smell and the dampness is only directly under the glass jars. The tubes don't seem to be leaking but the only other explanation for the damp shavings is the qail are spilling. I'm at a bit of a loss and I'm not even sure the tube waterers are the problem. Food is no where near the water and i just cleaned the cages Wednesday and the room is already back to that awful smell.
  2. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2015
    Your setup sounds somewhat similar to mine and I usually don't smell my buttons (my sister was here yesterday and said it smelled like 'bird' though, so it's not completely odorless - but I have 4 budgies and a zebra finch as well, so they might also cause some of the smell), so it might be possible to find the cause of the smell in the differences between our setups.
    I think pictures of your setup might help?
    But other than that:
    Is it humid or dry in the room? What's the temp?
    What do you feed them?

    Just a quick tour of my setup:
    1. cage, 2x4 ft, housing a roo and 3 hens. They are on wood chips with one corner of shavings. They are currently fed a chick starter with ~17% protein, but I usually feed gamebird starter with 24% protein with no issues. Their water is in a bowl similar to those you use for creme brulee (https://goo.gl/images/CBRjl4), a couple of inches high, and is changed daily. They get bedding and poop into it, so it's not optimal, but they aren't spilling it.
    2. cage, 2x4 ft, housing a pair and their 3 3-week old chicks. They are on shavings and sand (about half the cage is shavings, the other half is sand). Feed and water is in the sand part, their water is in a fountain like this: https://goo.gl/images/wkf9ps
    The fountain was on the ground when the chicks were small, but slightly suspended now to keep bedding and litter out. I change the water every 3 days or so, but should be changing it more often - it smells when I change it, but I don't notice the smell when it's in the cage.
  3. crimsonmama

    crimsonmama Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2017
    I had nine 4 week chicks in one aviary set up indoors and six chicks (2.5 weeks old) in a smaller aviary also indoors. I notice the smell after a day and a half. So I clean them out every two days!! I thought it was just because I have alot of quails right now.

    My big aviary will go outside once our UK weather warms up. Hopefully I can cut down cleaning to once or twice a week then.

    My other aviary I intend to keep indoors as I enjoy watching my quails and getting them out to pet. It's smaller so will hold about four quails. Hopefully that number will mean cleaning every three or four days!
    But if I want to keep them indoors and not smell that chicken coop smell I will clean them as often as I need!!

    I haven't tried wood shavings yet.... Is it supposed to help? I put sand down as it helps absorb their mess and dry it up. When I just had two adult quail I didn't notice the smell and once a week cleaning was fine.
  4. JaeG

    JaeG Flock Master Premium Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    I have 5 young buttons in an indoor corner guinea pig cage in our lounge. We have open plan living and high ceilings so that may contribute to the fact that I never smell them at all and hardly ever have to clean them out compared with our Japanese quail. What are you feeding them? That can contribute to a stronger smell so you could perhaps try a different brand of feed and see if that makes a difference. Or you could try fermenting their feed which reduces the smell also - I used to do it for my Japanese quails that were inside but I got out of the habit, but it did make a big difference to the amount they smelled.
  5. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2015
    crimsonmama - yours are coturnix, right? They apparently smell a lot more than buttons. You shouldn't have to clean a button cage that often. I might do it 1-2 times a month, sometimes even less, because button poop is relatively dry and goes completely dry quickly unless the environment is humid. And dry poop doesn't smell noticeably and doesn't hurt the birds.
  6. garett

    garett Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2013
    I just realized I also changed their food to a cheaper brand cut with their old brand. This gave me a few ideas to test and see what works. Thanks!
  7. Q QUAIL S

    Q QUAIL S Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2016
    I hope the old feed works and I also hope that the smell goes away. I would say it is the humidity and how damp it is for the smell.
  8. QuailCo Eggs

    QuailCo Eggs Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 23, 2016
    Hooper, UT
    Haha...I also had some buttons until the smell overwhelmed my house and my wife said "if you don't get those out of the basement, you will live in the goat pen with the goats." Buttons were my first quail breed to raise. It was fun, until the stink started. Fighting the smell wasn't worth it and in Utah, weather gets to cold for me to take them outside...so...

    I've just came to the conclusion that it didn't matter how much I cleaned the pen they were in, it will always put the wrong smell in the house. Enjoy your adventure!!

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2017
  9. Rebane

    Rebane New Egg

    Jan 12, 2017
    I have coturnix living as pets indoors. Apple cider vinegar in water (great tip from this forum!) helped a lot with smell at my place. Next change was horizontal nipples instead of guinea pig ball nipples. Not a drop of water in bedding any more. Changing bedding (shavings with bit of straw pellets mixed in) once a week or in 10 days.
    bantamsrmyfav likes this.

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