Coop smells like Ammonia?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CoolClucker, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. CoolClucker

    CoolClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 13 hens and 1 rooster, they are 8 months old. They've been in their coop for 6 months now with no issue. I noticed about 2 days ago that their coop smells strongly of ammonia. I keep water outside and use sand for the poo shelf under their roost and the floor, and pine shavings for the nest boxes. It's 14 sq ft and when we built it we ventilated it pretty well. All has been well until a couple days ago. No leaks that I can see anywhere, so what gives? I put the sand in six months ago and added some pdz to it. I scoop it regularly, floor and poo shelf. The sand in the shelf seems to be depleting a bit but other than that..no change in anything. I try to turn the sand floor about once a week for upkeep so it doesn't become packed down. It was fine Thursday, Friday I opened the doors and suddenly smells ammonia-y. Any help is appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  2. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What are the dimensions of your coop? Do you free range or have a run?
    I use the PDZ straight (not mixed with sand) and have never had a problem with ammonia smell. Could you post a picture of your coop?
     
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    If you used just Sweet PDZ, I doubtif you would have the ammonia smell, but since you are using sand, the liquid or uric acid part of the poo is probably seeping down into the sand crezating the odor. The ammonia odor can irritate eyes and start them coughing, so I would either change it out to just PDZ, or change to pineshavings. I used just PDZ for a year with a large poop board under my roosts, and never had the odor. The poops along with the liquid just scoops out, then you add toit as needed.
     
  4. CoolClucker

    CoolClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is 4 ft wide by 10 ft long, so 14 sq ft. I have a enclosed, attached run. I use sand and I sprinkled in a bag of pdz. I just don't understand why all of a sudden it smells. two days ago it was fine.
     
  5. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was why I got rid of sand under my roosts. Liquid from the poo seeped down in it and the smell stayed no matter how many times I turned it to let it dry up. And, yes, I scooped from under the roosts daily.

    I used pine shavings on the coop floor at that time with only sand under my roosts. I went to pine shavings under the roosts, too. Much improvement and there's no odor providing I add pine shavings or other organic matter, such as leaves, about every 10 days.

    Make sure all your ventilation is wide open, too. That makes a huge difference.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know where you are but is it warmer today? It's been so cold here we've had frozen poop for about the last month and there's been no odor. The last two days it has warmed up and the poop has thawed.

    Yep, I added pine shavings today, too!!
     
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  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    4x10 is 40 square feet. 14 birds in that size coop is maxed out.
     
  8. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok 40 sq ft at 4 sq ft per chicken equals room for 10 chickens unless they are bantams - if bantams you can get away with a few more than 10. This is 4 sq ft per chicken in the enclosed coop. Get rid of the sand on the poop trays and put down straight PDZ. You didn't say how big your enclosed run was but for 14 chickens it should be 140 sq ft.(10 sq ft per chicken) Or 7 x 20 , 8 x 18, 9 x 16, 10 x 14. To get sq ft multiply length by the width. Straight sand is ok for the enclosed run just remember to rake the poop out of it. I wouldn't mix pine shavings in with sand. You just end up with a wet mess. You can use pine shavings inside the coop where it is dry. Good luck. Remember to ventilate. You can't have too much ventilation. :welcome
     
  9. chickkrzi

    chickkrzi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    what is " PDZ" can it be composted?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    PDZ is Zeolite. Used in some cat litters, aquarium filters, and has agricultural uses to absorb and bind nitrogen. (ie: ammonia) Yes it is safe for compost and gardens.
     

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