Deep litter + small coop + mice =. ?????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MichelleT, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2014
    Denver, CO
    So, we're still relatively new chicken keepers but getting the hang of things quickly. We have 5 hens housed in a small coop (min requirements were 4 sq ft/ bird so we have a 20 sq ft coop) and have been using the deep litter method all winter. It has worked well... we didn't heat the coop this winter and the temp inside stayed consistently 10-20 degrees warmer than the outside on the coldest winter days. Smell has been minimal; turning and layering new litter has taken care of that problem when it arose.

    So, now it's spring, it's warmer, and the ammonia smell is not going away w/ the addition of new litter (and turning the litter). So I figured it was time to do a deep clean today. Last night, however, as my daughter was closing up the coop and counting the girls (she does this every night when she says goodnight :) ) she saw 2 mice run under the bedding. We left the coop open last night, as it didn't get very cold, and hoped they would leave, but I'm concerned that they've been living there a while.

    Aside from setting up multiple mice traps and cleaning out the space today, what else would you recommend to keep this from happening again?
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Melrose Park Illinois
    First get a cat. Then don't feed him for a week. LOL LOL. Ok on a more serious side. Those mice are there because it is ideal housing. Use traps for sure. As to the ammonia smell, If you replace the deep litter, all done. You can also try to vent it out. Maybe put a fan on it for a while.
    WISHING YOU BEST[​IMG]
     
  3. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well that turned out to be a lot more dramatic than I expected. We didn't find a mouse. We didn't find two mice. We found a litter… of mice, that is. The chickens were thrilled, the rest of us are completely grossed out. :rolleyes:

    So meanwhile the litter I removed (all of it) appears to be completely litter/bedding. I mean I can't even tell the chickens ever pooped in it at all. A few spots are damp, but the rest is just dry aspen wood chips. It's presently spread out all over the ground, and of course the girls are scratching around looking for more "baby mouse treats", but I'm thinking: why waste this? I don't think it's ready to compost, but it doesn't seem right to put it back in the coop either. Now what?
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Melrose Park Illinois
    Save it to use it in your run. Now you know the advantages of deep litter. Works naturally. Fresh litter will make your girls happy and you. [​IMG]
     
  5. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2014
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    Advantages in the free high-protein chicken snacks? Yuck. :sick
    I haven't done anything with it yet... it's still on the ground and the hens are still very happy to scratch around in it. It's really too much for the run. The've been kicking bedding out into the run all winter and it's already covered in aspen wood chips. I did dig some of it out today to add to the compost pile, since it was moist and starting to decompose.


    At least it's not too ugly, as ground-cover goes. It will probably be there a while. :)
     

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