Dropping tray problems, coop cleaning, anyone prefer not to use trays, etc

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by amama, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    This is our first time having chickens, so we are on a big learning curve and wanted some advice on keeping the coop cleaner. We built a 8x8 coop, we have 15 hens that are 5 months old. It has two roosts that are about 7 ft. long and I used 4 collapsible metal shelves for trays under the roosts, sprinkled a little pine shavings on them, and they were in for one day and were covered with mountains of poop this morning! I can get them all out okay and scraped them this morning, but the chicken's poop is so different and the runny ones don't scrape at all, and didn't hose off well. There are also droppings that miss the trays on the sides/edges, but I can't find larger trays than that. There are also droppings on the roosts. So I'm getting poop all over my gloves just trying to pick up the trays because the edges are covered, and it's falling off, then it's on the floor where I need to put the trays back in.

    Sometimes the hens all roost on the top one, sometimes they are all on the left half of the coop, so poop has been wall to wall and under both roosts so far. Sometimes they face in towards the coop, sometimes they face out, and sometimes they are half and half, so the poop is going everywhere.

    The floor of the coop has some pine shavings, but that seems like it will get very expensive to cover the floor and change it out often. There isn't too much poop in the area out from the roosts, but still some. It's also all over their ramp from the coop.

    Is this amount of poop normal? I was hoping for easier scraping, and don't want to hose them off daily, don't really want wetness in the coop.

    Do any of you prefer not using trays?
    Do you have better ideas for ease of cleaning?
    Do you all use pine shavings in the floor of the coop? I read controversial articles about sand as bedding.

    Thank you for your help, hope that all made sense.
     
  2. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought a bag of PDZ (the "sand" kind, not the powder). Take an empty jar (whatever you're comfortable holding in one hand) and pound 5 - 8 holes in it, and fill it with the PDZ, and sprinkle it on the poop deck. Dries the poop out and keeps the moisture down. I use a cheap plastic bucket, and a wide putty knife and just scrape the poop into the bucket. It is so easy, doesn't take much time at all, and keeps it much cleaner. I also have a really old spoon with slots in it that I scoop up big pieces of poop off the floor of their coop about once a week.
     
  3. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you hammer pieces of wood to hold a shelf (the poop deck)? Ours is wood, painted with semi-gloss outdoor paint, and it goes clear up to the edge of the wall. Think it would be easier if you didn't have to take trays in and out. Also, last post ... hammer holes in lid LOL. This must be a walk in coop?
     
  4. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    I keep seeing PDZ, what is that? I also thought I saw things saying to wear a mask when using it, so I wasn't sure it was a good idea but I know nothing about it obviously:)

    The spoon with slots is a great idea for the poop that didn't make it on the trays. So do you have pine shavings too or you just use the PDZ in your coop?

    So to make sure I understood your post, you are saying to make a poop shelf basically, not pull out trays? Then just scrape the shelf?

    Do the hens still walk under/poop under the shelf though?

    It is not a walk-in coop (made that way on purpose) but I"m finding out I'm having to climb in there anyways to clean it well, yuck.

    So two nights in the coop filled up almost 2 gallons of poop, is that normal?! And the runny poop is normal too?

    Thank you for your help
     
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a poopboard under the roost, it's filled with PDZ. Everyday or so I sift out the poop with a mesh paper tray. I use a wide putty knife to scoop it into the tray, shake out the loose PDZ, put it in a bucket then dump it on the compost pile. The PDZ (I use the granulated form) absorbs odor and moisture making it easy to sift.

    The poopboard keeps most of the droppings off the floor. We only clean out and replace the pine shavings twice a year.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, make a poop shelf, and scrape the poop into a bucket with the putty knife. Would make it so much faster and easier to do (as long as you are using the PDZ). Without the PDZ some will still smear on your shelves.

    Yeah, I have pine shavings on the floor of the coop and just pick out the bigger poops with the spoon with slots (only have to do that about 1x week, but I only have 5 chickens). I suppose if the floor of the coop got wet, I would use it there too but their water supply hangs outside their coop so the floor stays pretty dry ... I just use the pine shavings on the floor, and occasionally add a little more to it.

    (Our hen at the top of the pecking order decided to be nosy and ran into the coop while I was scooping up droppings on the floor. There was poop where she was standing and she wasn't about to move. The spoon was the perfect shape for her fluff butt and I gave her a little push with it. LOL She turned around, bit the spoon and stood her ground. Next I used the spoon to slowly push her little fluff butt out of the coop so I could resume my chores. She ran out and I could hear her telling the rooster on me ... he came and looked in the coop but didn't do anything. I thought that was funny and was glad the spoon was the same shape as her.)

    Just went out and measured ... husband built poop deck so the top of the shelf is 7 inches below the top of the roost. Works out good, and sometimes some of the poop gets pushed along until it comes to the wall, where stops and I can scrape it up. Works really well and can sprinkle it on window sills and roost too if you want ... just stops the poop from sticking, and helps eliminate moisture in the coop. (Sometimes our hens walk on the runs and crowd themselves onto the roost between 2 hens they apparently want to sit by. LOL I don't interfere because they don't seem to really have any problem).

    Since the roost is up high and the poop deck is below it (also up high), the area below the poop deck is just coop space.

    It is my understanding that the runny poop is urine in the poop, but it can be attributed to illnesses also; which I don't believe is your problem. The reason I use the PDZ is because it keeps the poop dry and easy to scrape out. Don't buy the powder stuff because it is more easy to breathe in, use the sand texture. I got mine at a local feed store, but I'm sure it is sold in a lot of places. It is called Sweet PDZ, and the kind I have is called Horse Stall Refresher Granules - it is the same thing. I forget what PDZ is exactly, but researched it really well before I purchased it, and I highly recommend it.

    Yeah, 7 foot roost sounds like you would still have to climb in there, but still should be a lot easier and quicker. Think masks are recommended whether you are using PDZ or not, as well as chicken clothes that you change out of when you leave the coop. Personal choices.

    I can't imagine how much poop is generated by 15 chickens but imagine it is a lot.
     
  7. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, this looks like ours except we don't have that lower roost on ours.
     
  8. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not a roost, it's the "lip" of the poopboard to keep the PDZ on the board. When the hens were young they liked sitting there. Here's a better pic...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi amama! I've had chickens for a long time, and I'm lazy. Right now I'm overwintering 34 birds, including a few bantams, in a coop/ covered run that's about 15' x'22'. There's deep bedding, no poop boards, and it gets cleaned out maybe three or four times each year. LIFE IS TOO SHORT to scoop the poop daily! Deep shavings, with scratch feed scattered on it every couple of days, and very good ventilation, is a much easier way to go. Mary
     
  10. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cecal poops tend to be runny and smelly and are completely normal.
     

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