Coop adjustments

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by biscuit7, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. biscuit7

    biscuit7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our chicken house was already here when we bought our property. I am trying to find a way to make it easier to clean for the good of my chickens and myself. We put up a branch and some perches but the chickens roost on the cross beams, so the poop is everywhere. I'm looking for a solution that will keep it more contained. The many windows make it difficult to work with so I'm in need of some good ideas. Their food and water are both inside also (our outside run is very small, no one uses it -hopefully we can upgrade in the near future!) and in turn, hard to keep clean. Don't be too hard on me, know it's dirty (new baby also a factor) and we have several molting hens at the moment. Any advice is welcome! Thank you!

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  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    I envy the size of your coop:)

    Since they are already in the habit of roosting on the rafters, I would block them from access to those so they have to move to your new roosts.

    Looks like they have 2 ladders to access to the rafters -I doubt they can reach the rafters without those, so I would remove them first and see where they roost.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Obviously you don’t have Silkies. Silkies can’t fly so you don’t have this type of roosting issues with them. They come with their own issues. I agree to remove the ladders unless you have a reason to climb up there yourself. I don’t expect that to solve the problem but it’s a reasonable first step. You don’t know until you try, it may be enough. But many birds, including adult full-sized fowl, can fly up pretty high if they want to. If you are set on them not roosting up there, you might try attaching bird netting to the bottom of them to block access if removing the ladder doesn’t work.

    I think it’s great that you have a coop big enough to give you some flexibility to do things. It’s hard to work with those tiny coops where you just can’t change anything.

    I’m going to approach this from a different direction. In what ways is that poop causing you concern? You don’t have to keep the coop so clean you can eat off the floor. Some poop in there is not going to hurt anything. It’s when it starts to smell that you have a problem. As long as it is spread out enough that it dries without smelling you can go forever without cleaning. Many of us only clean once or twice a year and even then really don’t have to. As long as the coop stays dry and does not build up so thick it stays wet you don’t have a health problem.

    Your nests are set up so they are not going to poop in them from the rafters. That’s good. You are feeding and watering in there, that can be a problem. But put a cover of some type over the feed and water to keep the poop from the rafters out. That may be the easiest way to solve the problem.

    A bigger problem may be that you don’t have much of a run outside so they may be spending a lot of time inside so they poop a lot inside during the day. That can increase the poop load inside and make it harder to keep the coop dry and the poop to a reasonable level. You might get more benefit creating some daytime space outside more than worrying about this.

    They do poop a lot at night as well as during the day but they are not moving around much at night so the poop accumulates. If you are getting piles in a specific place maybe it would be beneficial to put a bin under that roosting spot which is easy to empty. I do that on the end of my roosts that are not over my droppings board, just set a plastic bin I got from Walmart under it. Depending in how many chickens I have roosting in there and how wet the weather is (outside humidity can keep the poop from drying out), I may need to scrape my droppings board and empty that bin once a week. Sometimes I go a month without cleaning.

    Some people have the mindset that they have to clean, clean, clean. We are all different. I’m more laid back about it and mine are still tremendously healthy. I really feel clean water is important but a little dry poop isn’t a concern to me.
     
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Every wonder why you rarely see pics of anything but brand new coops?[​IMG]
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Do you mean like these? I'll admit the coop was pretty clean when I took these.

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  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    Nice [​IMG]
     
  7. biscuit7

    biscuit7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone! Sorry this response has taken a few days.

    We actually added the ladders after they started roosting in the rafters. They would climb up the limb and then fly from there. It looked quite strenuous and I was worried some of the hens might overestimate themselves, fall short and get hurt, so the ladders were added.

    I thought about adding some netting to catch droppings but in the morning most of them jump down. I don't feel inclined to untangle chickens from netting on a regular basis. Haha.

    You have a wonderful point about a clean coop. I would love for it to always be spotless but realize that's completely ridiculous. As soon as I somewhat clean they come in, dig through the new straw and poop everywhere.

    Thankfully I'm able to let them free range every day so we don't really need the outside run. However it would be nice because I have been waiting until the afternoon to let them out to make sure they're utilizing the nesting boxes and give my dog time to be free. Only problem is when the dog isn't chained they won't even consider the outside run because she terrorizes them. I keep the door to it closed almost always because they don't use it and also because I lost 3 hens last year after leaving it open one night! (too many roosters=fighting pushing on the chicken wire and popped it open!)

    Anyways I've rambled enough. Thanks again for your ideas (and for the real life coop photos @Ridgerunner!) :) I've been trying to think of a good way to cover the food and water that they won't land on when they jump down. I'm sure there's a good solution I just haven't thought of yet. :)
     
  8. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks like a great coop. I'm sure the chickens don't mind a little extra poop.
     
  9. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Hello......I would put wire at the rafters.....Enclose the area......Also Sand is fantastic....No stink and easy to clean....Kitty litter scoop and pail......The poop dries and no ammonia smell.....


    Cheers!
     

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