DLM - How bad is the poop? Suburbs ok?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MattMV, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. MattMV

    MattMV Hatching

    Feb 27, 2015
    Hi all,

    First post here - first off, this is an AMAZING website. Thank you for providing this resource. I'm currently in an apartment, but am looking to purchase a home in the next few years. I live in Mountain View, CA and would like to raise a pair of chickens or ducks. I'm leaning toward chickens as I assume they're a little cleaner. And I have zero experience.

    Anyone in the suburbs have tips on keeping smells down? I read about the deep litter method (DLM) - cleaning a coop every few months instead of every week is very appealing. But how bad does the poop smell... really? And in the run too? Would I be stepping in poop every morning to feed them and check for eggs? Will I still be able to enjoy the rest of a small backyard without smelling poop?

    I'd also love to any tips on what to look for before buying a home/yard when planning to raise chickens. The bigger the yard, the better? Would I need to talk to potential neighbors about it before signing on the dotted line?

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you have joined us.

    I have 6 hens, no experience with ducks.

    The final obstacle to my decision to get my own backyard flock was concern about the smell.
    I use sand in the coop, run, and nest boxes. It dries the poop and poop only smells if wet. It is easy to maintain, just sift out the dried poop in the coop once a week (sometimes more often in winter), and as needed in the run. If there are water spills or moisture from under roost poops add granulated PDZ and it dries that up and prevents smells.

    The only smell issue I have ever had was the dumb idea I had of adding water to a covered trash can compost can….took loads of shredded paper and stirring to over come that…

    The smell in and around my coop is a pleasant bird smell. Not stinky .

    They do poop wherever they are…folks who let them free range will have them pooping on decks, patios, or wherever they decide to sit/roost. Mine are confined, so I keep a pair of shoes to wear in the run. I have a boot scraper and scrapper mat at my back door - and those don't stink either. Unless you plan on a large area, think about an all in one coop/run and select chickens that do well in confinement, and they will be happy if you give them enough space.

    You do need to look at zoning issues as well as adjacent neighbor opinions. Avoid roosters. Hens can be noisy with their egg laying songs, but most of the time are quiet. Once you have found the place you want, consider trying to meet the neighbors before you sign the purchase.

    Good luck with your planning. Feel free to ask questions.

    Consider posting this under new members introduction to get a proper welcoming to our flock.
  3. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    With just a few birds, I do not think the deep litter method will work for you, at least not to your satisfaction. For a few chickens, pine shaving combined with a dropping board and some PDZ will win hands down. You will spend more time trying to make Deep Litter work, than you will spent wisking away the few droppings of a few hens.

    Best to you and your birds,

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  4. SilkieNation

    SilkieNation Songster

    Oct 26, 2007
    Rhode Island
    I have four Silkies, and a very large coop/room where they live. I actually clean up the poop almost every time I go in there, so it's at least twice a day. This may be overkill ( I think it might be...), but my routine is to go around and scoop up the poop with a wide paint scraper and a paper plate (with my poop gloves on), dump it in the trash can, freshen/change the water, check/give food and then I give them their treats and hang out for a bit while they eat them. They're still in all of the time because their run's got snow in it yet and Silkies can't get cold and wet. When the weather's warmer and the snow is gone, I rake out the run every morning before I put them in. All of this really takes very little time because I only have four little birds. Brainless time.

    You asked about the size of your yard - I would suggest that you definitely consider building a run for your birds. It'll protect them from predators and keep them from wandering into a neighbor's yard. There's lots of info on coops and runs on this site. Maybe you are already and are just wondering about a small yard and proximity to the coop and run! A nice shade tree to help keep their coop/run cooler would be a good thing. Chickens do better with cold than they do with heat.

    I'm assuming you know to check the local ordinance about keeping chickens. Not sure you need to confer with your neighbors about it if it's allowed - you might just end up meeting with resistance or have some other issue - that's my opinion anyway.

    One last thing, if you're worried about poop, consider bantams as they are small and so their poop is too, although they are definitely not for everyone! Good luck and have fun!
  5. chynasparks

    chynasparks Songster

    Jun 21, 2013
    Sweet PDZ. it comes in large bag. I get it from tractor supply. Not harmful to the chickens. I mix it in a he sand and put in the poop board. Excellent for controlling odor

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