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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tdgill, Dec 7, 2009.
I've used it that way. I had goats, and deep litter in their barn was the warmest, cleanest route to go. The wooden floor underneath made it easy to clear out in the spring.
But then goat poo is drier than bird poo. Maybe if you sprinkled in some diatomaceous earth to keep it drier???
It absorbs moisture instead of letting it soak into the flooring, and makes it far easier to clean.
Works extremely well and easy to clean.
My problem is that its TOO dry. I expect to have dust in my coop, but when they get scratchin about, its unreal. I spend more time with the doors open to blow that stuff out especially while I'm in there working (on insulation) and DBF just gives me this quizzical look, like "why are we insulating????" lol. Just can't figure out what I want to do.
So, the dust...is as much the pine shavings breaking down (I walk in my coop alot) as it is the poo? I use dropping boards but I know there's poo in the litter. Should I wet it? I hate to wet it.
What will be a less dusty bedding? Should I refrain from too much walking on ANY litter? If its the case of stuff breaking down by my traffic back and forth, maybe i should shovel myself a path..
Seriously, I'm ready to take the hose, mist the litter good, then shovel it the hell outa there and start over AGAIN.
If things are very dusty, IME the problem is most likely the shavings being inherently dusty -- try a different brand (although there is also usually *some* variation within a brand, from lot to lot). Or if you are adding DE or other powder, that can cause dustiness too.
It is also concievable that your litter is too clean yet. Did you put a deep depth of fresh litter in right from the start (which can cause dust problems even from fairly high-quality shavings) or did you start with just a little bit and only add more as it became necessary to dilute out the poo, so to speak?
Good luck, have fun,
I was probably over generous with the shavings....
so, you're saying... that possibly,
and MOST likely
............................wait for it ppl
I NEED MORE CHICKENS!!!!
no....DUCKS DUCKS I NEED DUCKS. Poopy little creatures! That'll mess up my coop real nice and quick won't it??? lmao
or what's my next step? seriously.
eta: its been quite a while since I added or needed to add any shavings...
Let the poo be your guide....
Chicken coops are dusty, period. You want them to be dry since they are not heated as a rule. It may be that you are doing too much in there, maybe more than you need to? I do clean up and feeding each AM that takes 10-15 min tops. I am not in there again except in and out for 30 sec to get eggs a few times. That is it. I use linoleum over 3//4" OSB. I use 6" of grass clippings over that. I have poop planks that are scraped clean each day in AM with feeding chores and poop goes to garden or compost. I will not change litter for a year at a time. It is dusty as is all litter. I could mist it down with a hose, but I want no mold whatsoever because my flock of 24 is healthy and I want to keep them healthy. We will only wear dust mask once a year for litter removal in springtime after grass is growing again and I can replace with fresh grass. I do add fresh grass all year long. It keeps some dust down and smells good too. I expect it to become more dusty as winter progresses because I cannot get fresh green grass and the litter keeps drying. That is ok as long as it is dry in the coop.
Quote:I've done a lot of reading on litter management since we moved to Wisconsin and started a 2500 bird organic flock. Most of what I have read says that dusty conditions in the hen house are as unhealthy as high ammonia levels. Ideally, ventilation needs to be balanced against humidity in the hen house. If you ventilate to keep the humidity at 50%- 70%, then it's moist enough to keep the dust level down, yet not so moist that ammonia levels become troublesome. This keeps the litter at a low moisture level and supports a slow aerobic decomposition.
Granted, I now have a 4500 sq ft barn with exhaust fans and adjustable inlets and have total control over the ventilation, but the same principles apply to a small coop. The small 8x8 coop I had in Texas had a gable roof (see my website link). When I built I left the soffits uncovered and left a 4" gap at the top of the walls. I covered this with hardware cloth to keep critters out and adjusted the ventilation by stuffing insulation up in the soffits or covering the gap with cardboard. I needed a few hinged boards across those gaps to help adjust the ventilation, but never got that far. In the winter (as bad as it got in West Texas anyway) I could keep the warmth and humidity levels up, but ventilate enough so that it didn't become swampy in there. In milder weather I just left the people door open and many times the litter would dry out. If it got too dry and dusty I would mist it with a hose and stir it in.
The key here is lots of adjustable ventilation that can be changed with the weather. If it gets too humid and the ammonia levels come up, open up some more ventilation, if it gets too dry and dusty then close off some ventilation.