droppings pit

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by motherhen, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. motherhen

    motherhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2007
    Halifax, NS
    Can anyone tell me the best method in design, whether a droppings pit below the roost keeps the pen cleaner or not? Does it really reduce the smell and keep things cleaner or do chickens go anywhere and everywhere that having a pit doesn't make a difference. I want to reduce the amount of materials used to build the coop. If you have experience with both please let me know what you think.
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I personally don't have a droppings pit but if there was one under the roosts that I could clean out once a week, that would be great. I suggest making one as it will reduce the smell. There are a few posts around somewhere with talk about dropping pits and how they did them. Sorry I'm not much help.
     
  3. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have a droppings pit now but I will be building a new coop soon and I have checked out several styles. My uncle built a plywoood shelf under his roosts to catch the droppings. He goes in once a week or so and shovels the shelf off into a bucket. This design is better than nothing however it does not keep the birds from walking in the mess and it also keeps the mess closer to them. The best designs keep the manure far below the hens so that they don't breathe in the ammonia (not that important if you plan to clean it out frequently) and keeps them away form the fallen manure so they don't make a mess. You can make a wooden frame and cover it with wire so the droppings fall through the wire and land in a container or a partitioned part of the floor. The plan I will use is elaborate but I have done some research and found it to be the best so far.

    I will partition off an area under the roosts with scrap wood and cover the top with chicken wire (2" holes") so the droppings fall through without allowing the birds acces to the mess I will palce plastic totes in this area so the droppings land in these. I plan on cutting a door in the back wall of the coop so these totes can be pulled out easily from the outside. To further the odor reduction I plan on adding horse stall refresher (sweet pdz brand) to the bins. This plan is probably costly if you don't have the materials, but if you can find scrap it would just be labor cost.

    Roosting pits do significantly reduce the amount of waste in the coop and should reduce smell if you keep the area under the roosts dry and add baking soda or stall refresher to it.
     
  4. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    San Marcos, TX
    How big is your coop and can you walk into it? I pooper scoop my coop every morning. It doesn't take long with a dog scoop and putty knife. No mess, no smell.
     
  5. motherhen

    motherhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2007
    Halifax, NS
    allen--I don't want to have to clean the coop everyday, that's a little too much. My coop is approx 8x6ft.
    picco- it sounds like you have checked things out alot. It sounds good, I am still debating.

    One last question does anyone know whether those who use the deep litter method still have a droppings pit and whether that makes a difference or whether its not necessary because it is deep litter method? I have read alot that it is very popular and it doesn't smell too much.
    I would appreciate any comments or suggestions that any has.
    Thanks.
     
  6. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    i would not use a droppings pitt under the roost.1st since you have like a plywood floor to catch the mess.itll be a good place for hens to hide an lay their eggs.wich means messy dirty eggs.2nd itll cost about $25 bucks to build the drippings catcher.when all you need is a hoe shovel an wheel barrow.to clean from under the roosts about 2x a month.an then spead the litter on your garden during the fall an winter.wich is free fertalizer.
     
  7. Marion

    Marion Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I think that the droppings pit is a good idea and covering it with wire as Picco suggested should eliminate the problem of dirty feet as well as hens laying there. The chickens will still be pooping in other areas of the coop so the deep litter method should work but just last a bit longer between cleanings perhaps? I find that my chickens leave more deposits under their roosts than any other place really. I am also building a coop in the next few weeks and will be using a droppings pit as well unless I find a reason to drop the idea.
     
  8. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2007
    Quote:Will you leave the totes empty, or do you plan to add pine shavings/newspaper/etc. ? I like your plan and will be doing something very similar, but I do plan to layer something in the bottom of the totes, possibly even line the totes with trash bags for ease of cleaning. I'll just empty the totes/bags into the compost at cleaning time.
     
  9. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The garbage bags would work well. I plan on putting a couple inches of pine shavings in the totes and a handful of horse stall refresher, that way it should stay dry and not smell so bad. I used kitty litter in the roost pit of my very small bantam coop and this worked really well but its too expensive I think for large pit.
     
  10. Corey NC

    Corey NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    North Carolina
    here is mine and I LOVE it, I only clean it out once every six months and put it on the garden. I have a drawer and I pull it out and shovel it into my wheel barrow, it only take about 30 minutes. I don't notice any smell and keeps the coop much cleaner.

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