Chicken smell and noise

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheChickenProject, May 20, 2010.

  1. TheChickenProject

    TheChickenProject In the Brooder

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    May 20, 2010
    I hope this is the correct forum for this question.

    I am planning on raising two Easter Eggers in our suburban neighborhood. Could someone tell me how much smell and noise I could expect with two birds? I am often told that chickens smell, are noisy and make a mess with thier poop. I do hope to let them free range in the back yard in nice weather and plan a 3 x 5 pen and upper coop.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

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    Noise is purely relative. Hens are not nearly as noisy as a crowing rooster but occasionally they can be loud, like after they lay an egg. If you are trying to keep your chickens a secret from your neighbors, they will hear the hens, but that is pretty much during the day and is not rally all that annoying. How much noise a hen makes does vary by the individual and what is annoying to your neighbors depends on the neighbor.

    You can manage the smell. If you keep the coop and run dry, you will not have much smell at all. If it gets wet or the poop builds up to where it stays damp on its own, yes you can get strong smells. First and foremost, keep your coop and run dry. Don't let any rain water or water runoff in your run. Cover your run. Divert runoff away. Build the floor of your run up high enough or lo0cate it on higher ground so water cannot run in. Pat's article on Muddy Run may give you some good ideas. By the way, read all of Pat's articles. They are good.

    Muddy Run
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    Pat’s Winter Coop Temperatures
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    Pat’s Ventilation
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Another good way to keep the smell down and make the litter in your coop last longer is to use a droppings board. Chickens poop a lot when they roost. If you put a surface under the roost to catch this poop and regularly remove it before it starts to smell, you help yourself a lot. Many people scrape the droppings board daily. I can wait for 4 to 6 days to clean mine, depending on how wet and humid it is, but my circumstances are different from yours.

    You will need a poop management plan. What are you going to do with the poop and bedding you take from your elevated coop? It makes great compost and if you control the composting dampness, it will not smell. If it gets sopping wet, yes, you can have a problem.

    You mentioned you are planning to get two EE's. Might I suggest three instead? Chickens are social animals. They need other chickens around or they get extremely stressed. Things happen. If you start with two, you may wind up with only one.

    Let’s discuss space a bit. The general rule of thumb on here is a minimum of 4 square feet per chicken the coop and 10 square feet per chicken in the run. The area in the run is pretty valid in your case and if they can get under the coop, the area under the coop still counts. This area not only helps in the poop management, but it helps keep them happy and content so they are not trying to kill each other. They will do that if they are too crowded. A 4’ x 8’ run might be something to consider. It is a good size for three chickens and a great size for two chickens. The more space, the better. And since most building materials come in standard 4’ or 8’ increments, it is a pretty efficient size to build. Just watch centerline or out to out dimensions when you are planning it so you remain efficient with the building materials.

    The 4 square feet per chicken may not mean a lot in your case. There are a lot of things that go into that number. It takes into consideration poop load a coop can manage based on standard management practices. It assumes that you have to leave them locked in there for several days at a time, usually due to winter weather but there can be other reasons. It assumes you have enough chickens for averages to matter. I don’t think you will. If you feed and water in your coop, you need room for the nest box (one is enough for you), for a roost (minimum 8” per chicken. A bit more is better in your case. It is not just the room they need to roost, but they need some room to get up there with their wings spread) and room for the feeder and waterer where they will not be pooping in it while roosting. That can be hard to squeeze into 4 square feet per chicken hen you only have a very few chickens. If you feed and water in your run instead of in the coop, that frees up a lot of space. Your climate and how you manage them will have a lot to do with how much room you actually need in the coop portion.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I have a small flock of five hens. I use dropping boards (love them!), and the only time I smell anything in my coop is when I bend over to scrape the board dropping into my bucket (because it's just sitting there in piles, and piles of poop will always stink a bit), or if I'm sitting with my girls and one drops a smelly bomb right beside me...lol. If you keep a clean, dry coop, there will be no noticeable smell. You will need to rake out your run too, how large the run is will dictate how often you remove droppings from it.
    My EE makes very low talking sounds, but I'm sure they're all different.
     
  4. AI4KK

    AI4KK Hatching

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    My coop has about 4" of leaf litter in it from before I built it. It seems that as they scratch their way around the coop, the poop simply disappears under the leaves and is not smelling, and they love all the bugs they find under there. If they all compost down, I was thinking of adding more leaves from our pile in the backyard, eventually cleaning the poop/leaves all out, adding them to the backyard compost and adding fresh leaves.

    Is there anything wrong with this plan? Any unforeseen problems?

    For noise, I have noise barriers made out of bags of mulch stacked and tied along the fence and decorative tire planters across the front. You can see the bags in the video at
     
  5. LASmilingAtYou

    LASmilingAtYou In the Brooder

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    Howdy [​IMG] I live in a city that does not allow chickens, but got approval from our neighbors before we decided to keep them. They were excited to get some eggs for free [​IMG]

    We started with two chicks, one was killed so we only have one. She does get excited right after laying her egg...but if I am across the street and hear it, I can't tell you it is different from a loud bird squaking [​IMG] The noise does not bother anyone.

    We have her in a tractor <move every few days> then when poop is dry we rake up and put on hydrangeas and roses...they LOVE IT! [​IMG] If you are right beside the poop you might smell new / wet, but there is no odor FOULING LOL up the neighborhood [​IMG]

    And my almost 11 year old daughter refuses to eat a store bought egg EVER again! [​IMG]

    Chirp is a sweet bird...I can tell she knows she is gorgeous [​IMG]
     
  6. TheChickenProject

    TheChickenProject In the Brooder

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    May 20, 2010
    Thanks for the information Ridgerunner!
    I'm not that concerned with "hiding" the birds as I am with the noise being a nuisance. Luckily, I have a great relationship with them, I just don't want the noise bothering them. I think I have a good Poop Management plan and like "teach1rusl" plan on using a droppings tray that I can clean daily.

    My daughter asked for "a" chicken. I decided on two only to keep the other one company. I will give your suggestion of three some serious thought.

    Thanks for the info and I will definitly read pats articles.

    John
     
  7. nelgkel

    nelgkel Songster

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    [​IMG] Chickens are so neat!! We just got 12 chickens, we live in a neighborhood with .17 acre.. I would suggest getting 3 chickens to start, that way if something happens to one you will have 2 left. We have not found them to be any noisier than our neighbors cockatiels!! They are quieter than the wild birds singing in the morning too!! With our chickens, yes they are young @ 4weeks old but they are in the 4' by 8' coop most of the day and you cannot smell chicken poop! WE are using the deep litter method and it seems to work GREAT!! We are using pine shavings, some sand and soil and DE to help with the smell! We have a wood floor covered in linoleum that is why we put some sand and soil in the shavings. They do a GREAT job of tilling the mixture!! Just through some treats on the floor and they scratch away, doing most of the work for you. With young chicks you will need to give them grit before they can have treats. We use construction sand, it is not treated, no calcium added (like parakeet grit) and not too fine.
    You will fall in love with chickens once you get them! You can always get different kinds too, instead of 3 of the same kind, that way you have variety and different size eggs and egg laying more often.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

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    Flies are something you may want to think about how to manage. I use a fly trap and dust my coop with food-grade diatomaceous earth. My hens free-range most of each day, so their run doesn't smell too bad because their day poops are almost all done in our backyard. However, we can get some big fly population outbursts on our property, when it is rainy and warm. So, I'd suggest getting a fly trap or two. When our traps get full, we dig a hole beside one of our plum trees and bury the contents of the trap -- then, refill it with more bait. Turns nasty flies into DEE-licious plums!
     
  9. McCash40

    McCash40 In the Brooder

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    It won't be the smell or the noise that will get you in trouble. No matter how great you think your neighbors are, if they want to complain they will. I have put up with motorcycles, barking dogs, wandering cats, racing car motors and screaming kids for 30 years. But if I so much as irritated a neighbor in the most insignificant way, they would complain about my chickens. You might say they would cry "fowl." [​IMG]
     
  10. jdellosso

    jdellosso In the Brooder

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    Though I understand the reason to start with three, we have two cochin hens in our suburban house, and to me it's perfect. With two, we haven't dealt with nasty pecking order issues, haven't had any disease or deaths, and there's no odor and I compost the droppings or give them away to my friends with gardens. I was surprised to find out how much noise they can make when they're laying eggs, though. The "egg cry" is about as loud as a crow, and can go on for minutes. I am lucky enough to be working at home so when I do hear it, I throw them some scratch. This was a suggestion I read here on the forum, as they can't cry with their mouths full!

    I have also learned to separate my girls when they lay. The non-layer does the egg call, the layer is silent and does all the work! If they can't see each other laying, there's silence. This may not be practical, but do be aware that when they start laying eggs, they may really want to stress to everyone in a mile radius that they accomplished something great! Another tidbit I read here, you may want to give eggs to your neighbors and let them know that when they hear the egg call, the girls are "working" and you'll be over soon with fresh eggs.

    Good luck and have fun!
     

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