Coop smell? Advice?


5 Years
Jul 31, 2014

We have our duck coop nearish to our patio. My husband is starting to complain about the smell, so I thought I would ask for advice. When we built the coop, I thought I was being really smart by having a hardware cloth floor so that the duck poop would fall through the flooring and onto the grass below, where I could hose it into the lawn twice a day and it would disintegrate. That worked really well the first week--except now that the ducks are much bigger, there are about 400 more pounds of poop a day (too much to hose into the lawn) and it's not even drying in between hosings, which think is contributing to the smell, and it's starting to draw flies (gross). So:

If I take out the grass under the coop, what can I replace it with? I can't pour concrete or anything under it, but maybe sand, maybe gravel?

Should I plan to hose the poop in, or rake the poop out?

Any ideas on something I should sprinkle on there in between to keep the smell down? Just has to be safe for small kids, dogs, and of course, ducks :)

By the way, this is an 8 x 3 coop containing 4 ducks--so not a giant flock or anything. They are confined all day until they get bigger--I am nervous about hawks--but once they are adults they will be out during the day which will hopefully help.

Make a compost pile next to the coop. Not like kitchen waste compost, but a pile of dry matter (leaves, wood chips, pine straw, etc...), add in a bag of composted manure from the garden center, a bag of garden dirt, and some composting bacteria. Then just mix the duck mess into the compost every day. I use last years duck compost in the current years garden and it works wonders and it doesn't smell. As the amount of duck mess increases, you just have to add more dry matter.
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I would like to add my testimony to the composting idea. Heat and water accelerate the whiffies. Oak leaves seem to work well in reducing smell - probably the pH is related. But generally, if there is not air getting to the poo - it will reek. Air plus carbon plus manure makes for lovely gardening stuff that has an aroma, but not unpleasant (to a gardener).
I wish I could do that, but I would literally have to buy all the matter to compost. We have very few deciduous trees in our yard--we are in Southern California and have mostly palm trees/tropical foliage that doesn't shed. We do have one orange tree, a nectarine tree and a peach tree, and that's about it for shedding leaves. I have a very urban backyard >.<

I went to the feed store and saw a product called Sweet PDZ and grabbed a bag on impulse, hoping it would help. Has anyone used this?
What about something like a horse stall mat that you can pull out and rinse off daily? The trouble with that is that the mats are heavy, but if you can find something similar, you could spray it with vinegar and water, and hose it off after you dragged it out to dry. Maybe something like those plastic runner mats that you can use on stairs, etc.
I have found "Cleaning Vinegar" in Walmart, it is supposed to be stronger than regular white vinegar. I dilute it 50/50 and use it on floors, my litter boxes, the chinchilla and guinea pig cages and pretty much anything else that I have to clean frequently.
Like the horse stall mats you could use a plastic liner so you can rinse if off every day. Plus it is a little lighter.

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