Cleaning low area under the coop


In the Brooder
Feb 15, 2017
Middle TN
Hi, I'm a new chicken owner. I was given 11 hens and 1 rooster of various ages and breeds that were used to true free ranging. We have a raised coop that is on a slight slope and the opening underneath varies from a few inches to about a foot of clearance. The chickens love to go under there and as we have absolutely no trees or shade in that part of our property, (except for a small area of the run that has a roof,) we thought this would be a good idea. My problem is that I am not sure how to keep it clean. The rest of the run either has pretty deep wood chips or else is still grassy. (It's a large netted run, about 55x16) Any ideas short of attempting to toss wood chips under there handful by handful? I'm afraid that if I just leave it that it will start to smell as it gets hotter and the poop begins to build up. Thanks for any suggestions!
My birds also love to hang out under their coop. It is 10 x 12. I had considered blocking their access to it for the reasons that you mention. But, I chose not to for fear that blocking them from that area may make it more of a haven for rodents, or even for a predator to breach the fencing, and take up residence. It's been 3 years, and it seems to stay dry. The poop simply dries up. I may some day regret it, but not today, and not tomorrow!

One major consideration is this: What to do if birds decide to lay eggs under there, or if one of them gets sick, and crawls under there to die??? I do a daily inspection. I almost have to stand on my head to be able to see all the way under. If needed, I could reach under it with a long handled rake to retrieve an egg. (have had to on several occasions, but those eggs seem to be accidental ones)

Could you raise your coop higher to increase access to the area?
Unfortunately I can't raise it:( I have worried about the egg laying and figured I would use a rake like you did! However, I did not think about one crawling under there to die! I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it... I also do a daily inspection, especially since some of the birds appear to be younger and may not have started laying yet and also are at the very bottom of the pecking order, poor things. I actually had to block them from going under there at night the first week because they chose to sleep under there instead of in the coop.

I have noticed that it smells just a little bit so that is why I was a little concerned. We have had an incredible amount of rain the past couple of months and the area under the coop received some drainage from my large garden that backs up to it. The water does not pool as it is on a slope but it did get damp. Their coop and the rest of the run are fine though.
How big is the coop?
I'd just toss some wood chips from the run under there.
Chances are they migrate back down the slope into the run,
so toss some back up as necessary.
Pics might garner other suggestions.
Adding your location to your profile helps too,
it's easy then it's always there!

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