Coop Hygiene! Help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TheB's, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. TheB's

    TheB's New Egg

    Jun 27, 2011
    Hi All!
    Thanks in advance for the help.

    So I live in a townhouse in seattle with three chickens (4.5 months old) in the back yard. Their coop seems to be of good size for them, but I am having a hard time keeping it clean.
    I clean out all the poop once per week, yet it doesn't seem like nearly enough.
    I have a layer of sand and small gravel on the ground, with the plan of washing it out every week and the poop draining out as well.

    Well... that's not really happening and the coop seems dirty and smelly all the time.

    Do you have any advise? Should I put in wood chips on the ground as well and then just haul them out as needed? Should I feed them less. I just let them eat as much as they want.

    Help Please!!!
  2. Grand-hen-ma

    Grand-hen-ma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Hudson Florida
    I have tried everything from gravel to hay to mulch and swear by sand. I clean up any poo I see every day, just to keep the smell and flies down.
  3. TheB's

    TheB's New Egg

    Jun 27, 2011
    Thank You, sand it is!
  4. benjoycei

    benjoycei Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2011
    definitely sand!
    you may try getting a poop scoop for kitty litter and scoop the poop every day.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  5. chicktwins

    chicktwins Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2011
    Eastern Shore
    I have my first chicks ever, they are about 10 days old now. Not that I have experience but in my research of trying to find out which type of bedding I will use in my coop, sand is a definite possibility because of the apparent ease of cleaning. Maybe you need a thicker layer of sand. I have read on BYC that it is easy to scoop out with a cat litter scoop and if you do it daily you wouldn't need to "wash" the coop often at all. Maybe there is a bunch of water that hasn't drained well that is causing the smell. Water when left to stand doesn't smell good and if you add chicken poop to the mix its a definite smelly mess. If it were me I would add more sand, enough that there is atleast 1-2 inches, if not more, and start scooping and raking it daily. Forgo the hosing down part and see how it goes, maybe put down a little bit of DE and stall dry before adding the extra sand too. I hope I helped in some way. Much luck![​IMG]
  6. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I use pine shavings.The feed store one is cheaper than the pet quality sold at walmart,but the cheap one is very dusty. I clean poo daily.
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    How big is your urban coop?

    Sand and gravel in our wet wet most of the year area seem to often end up poopy wet mud piles if the water can't really drain below how ever deep you made the sand/gravel pit.

    What I do is fill everything with shavings inside, and scoop all out as needed. As soon as moisture gets in, stink will follow. If I can keep it all dry, all is good.

    I have never tried gravel/sand, but can say our gravel driveway and turn about floods annually, enough as to have wild ducks land and swim around. LOL And it's not just a bit of gravel, it's about 20 tons of it layered on top of a previous 20 tons, layer over probably another 2o tons the past 50 years and it still pools up about 6 inches in the rain.

    I think it's the fact that the ground is clay 2 feet under, and once that is saturated, nothing can drain.
  8. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    We have pine shavings on the floor of our coop about 4 inches deep. I clean up any poop I see (takes about a minute) every day and the coop doesn't smell at all.
  9. HarryBun12

    HarryBun12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2009
    Ditto on the sand and scooping daily. It doesn't take long and it really keeps the smell down. I also like to rake the sand all nice when I'm done scooping. It looks so tidy for a short while, but even doing that takes no time at all even in a pretty good size run.
  10. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    If your coop area has decent drainage, sand is great. Even if you don't want to pick it clean every day, keep a steel rake handy and rake it around some. That loosens the sand and covers the fresh poop so it doesn't get covered in flies.

    It sounds like you are using a hose to rinse the run? That works great on concrete but sounds like it would be trouble otherwise. Fill your coop area with gravel 4-6" deep before topping with the sand. Then just rake and pick, don't add water.

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