confused about maintenance (ammonia smell in run)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by katiekuj, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. katiekuj

    katiekuj In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2011
    We have a chicken tractor styled coop/run. The floor of the run is dirt, pine shavings in the coop. About once a week I am mixing around the pine shavings and adding a little bit of fresh on top. I also throw in some scratch to let the chicks do some of the work as well. However the last couple days the run has started to smell like ammonia. What should I be doing to keep the run clean, rake? put sand down?
    I think I am confused at how deep litter method works.

  2. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Songster

    Apr 4, 2011
    Near Seattle
    I have sand in my run, and I rake it and kitty litter scoop it every day (or two). I would think that if you have dirt, you have to rake it out occasionally, as the poop would just sit there and accumulate. In the sand it gets clumpy, which makes it easy to remove.
  3. It got wet. the uric acid in the chickens' poop mixed with moisture releases ammonia. It is greatly pronounced with wood shavings or anything organic/carbon.

    If your run is a tractor, just move the tractor! Then, add live bacterial load on top of the ammonia smelling stuff. You will have REALLY NICE compost for your garden in 2-4 weeks! Have any moldy kitchen scraps in your compost bucket? And some freshly cut green things like lawn or weeds? Other people just rake the ammonia smelling moist stuff into the lawn and go back to it in a few weeks.

    Your coop is really nice looking.
  4. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    A dry coop is the key to killing the smell

    Your going to have to clean out all the old chips as they're soaked and will just keep stinking, a shop vac and a putty knife will make it a quick job. Suggest switching to a few inches of coarse sand and invest in a kitty litter scoop. You also might look into a horse care product called StallDry. Heard it's inexpensive and does wonders for drying out a coop.

    If the poo / uric acid has soaked into the floor, you may need to seal it with Kilz or replace it to completely kill the smell. If you really want to stick with the chips, definately check out the StallDry, be ready to do complete litter changes a lot and start composting.

    PS: Nice coop and run but give them some ventilation, a lot of people have been losing bird to the heat in the coop even with a nice run
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  5. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Remove the shavings. Great indoors, no good at all outdoors.
  6. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    You don't need the shavings outdoors.

    And for that deep litter method to work, it must be kept DRY.

    I use the dry deep litter method and have absolutely no smell at all.

    I only have 23 chickens and my coop is 8x12.

    When I let the chickens out in the morning, I simply do a little raking of the litter (all about 10 seconds), and that's it.

    I mostly rake to check for any possible moist spots.

    For your run, you can use sand.

  7. rainierlass

    rainierlass Songster

    Jan 1, 2010
    I use the deep litter method in the coop - - wood chips sprinkled with
    Stall-Dri - - my run is sand sprinkled with Stall-Dri and I rake about 3 times a week - - never notice a smell

    ....just a might want to cover the run part -
  8. monica.stromberg

    monica.stromberg In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2011
    I agree, I would put STA-DRI down. It neutralizes the ammonia odor and keeps things dry. It is a mix of DE and clay pellets.

    Paradise Chickens
    "Poultry in Motion!"
  9. tellynpeep

    tellynpeep Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    SW New Hampshire
    I agree with the dry comments. I have two coops: a raised one with a wooden (with linoleum) floor, and a second one I built in the garage on a concrete slab. The wooden coop stays dry, no smell ever. The concrete floor always seems to be damp, either from leakage or condensation, and frequently gets ammonia build-up. I have to clean it at least 4X as often as the other.
  10. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Also, if you have a lawn that is gets cut, you can use the grass to throw inside your run.
    The chickens will LOVE the grass.

    I have 3 acres that gets cut, so I have a LOT of grass.
    I throw some of the grass underneath all the shade trees for the chickens to hang out (see pic).
    I also throw some into the coop which saves me $$$ on buying shavings (I only have to buy shavings during the winter).

    Try different things to see what works best for your situation.


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