Cleaning under roost

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nelson329, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. nelson329

    nelson329 Hatching

    Apr 22, 2009
    I am new to backyard chickens and am currently building a coop for my chicks coming in June. What do I need to do about the roost? I have come across people saying something about the droppings under the roost. If I am going to use the deep litter method can I just mix all those droppings into the wood shavings or do I need to clean them out?

  2. Big George

    Big George In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2009
    With wood shavings my chickens keep it stirred. I cleaned it once month or so in the winter. More often int he summer. Trust me you'll know when its past time. "Some times my back yard gets that not so fresh smell".
  3. chickenfever

    chickenfever Songster

    Jul 22, 2008
    Some people use droppings boards under the roosts. This is something that will catch the droppings while they roost and you can clean the boards more often to keep the coop clean. Personally I just use the deep litter method w/ wood shavings too, and the chickens keep them mixed in as long as I keep enough shavings in the coop.
  4. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I really like the dropping board idea. Mine is covered in a piece of linoleum. Every morning it takes me about 1 minute to clean it off. I then save that "special" poop for gardening. It takes a really long time for the shavings to compost. I am not a patient person- so I prefer to compost the poop alone, and the shavings I just spread on a field, and let nature do its thing. I believe having an area that you can quickly clean, keeps the coop much cleaner, much longer. Now that the weather is good and the chickens are outside all day, pretty much they are only pooping in the coop at night. So, with this clean up method, my shavings are still white and clean a month later...I don't really enjoy shoveling- so the longer between clean outs, the better!!
  5. nelson329

    nelson329 Hatching

    Apr 22, 2009
    Another question. How high are you putting your roosts and do the chickens need a ladder to get up to them or is it just if their wings are clipped?

  6. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If you are building one of those little coops for about 3 chickens, you will probably want the dropping boards. In a larger walkin coop, you may or may not.

    Roost height depends a lot on breed. I have heavy breeds and my roost is about 30", as they can injure themselves jumping down. They do not need a ladder to get to the roost. If you are raising meat birds they do not roost at all. Some chickens nest in tall trees or barn rafters. Not familiar with bantams.

    I hope you have found the FAQ section, the coop and run section and the search feature, although it takes some getting used to how to use the search feature. Folks are glad to answer questions, but there is already so much information here. There is a lot more to learn here about roosts than these few answers provided; for instance, if you are in a cold climate, best to use the wide side of a 2x4 for a roost, so they can sit on their feet which prevents frostbitten toes.

    When I started browsing, I learned answers to questions I didn't know I had, real quick!

    But please don't think I am discouraging questions; not at all. The only stupid question is the one you did not ask!


  7. nelson329

    nelson329 Hatching

    Apr 22, 2009
    Thanks, I am just like you, finding answers to questions I didn't know I had. What a wealth of information on here!
  8. jennybee

    jennybee In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2009
    i have a teeny 4 hen coop...i just throw two 12x12 linoleum sticky tile squares with the backing still on under the roost to clean off in the mornings
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Droppings boards are the greatest, IMO. With literally 10 seconds of work each morning you are removing almost 50% of the daily poo output from the coop. This makes your bedding last way longer (meaning: also less labor) and improves air quality.



  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I would hate having to scrape a droppings board every day. It would suck the joy right out of having chickens, for me. I once asked my husband what he thought about them and he said if he had to scrape poop off a droppings board every day, he wouldn't have chickens. [​IMG]

    I don't care how much litter I use and I never minded scooping out the coop twice a year.

    That's one of the things that's so great about managing a chicken coop. There are so many ways to do it that all work for the chickens. You can pick the way that you like the most. The chickens just want a nice environment that doesn't stink.

    For deep litter, I like to just scatter a light layer of clean litter under the roosts or the more heavily used areas of the coop as needed. I start with a thinner layer of litter than some people and add lightly as needed, only in the areas that need it. There's no stirring that way.

    Starting with a thick layer of shavings, adding a larger amount monthly and doing a lot of stirring is a lot more labor intensive. Letting the litter build by adding the shavings more gradually, as the droppings are being added gradually, really works for me.

    Coops that smell have an imbalance in the litter and need more shavings, unless you have some other problem like a water leak. Non-deep litter coops get cleared out and start over. Deep litter coops get more shavings added. Over time, you learn to manage your deep litter coop, how much litter to add and when to add it. I like to keep a bale of shavings in the corner, with the top cut open and a feed scoop inside. It's really handy.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by