Ever since my chickens started laying eggs...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gindee77, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Gindee77

    Gindee77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    QCA, Illinois
    ...our coop smells really strongly of ammonia every morning when I open the shed door. [​IMG] Is there a reason for this? I know I've read here that their poops get bigger, but do they get stronger smelling too?

    I don't know what to do about it.

    We faithfully clean our coop every week, I put down DE and zeolite on the coop floor and then we use pine shavings for bedding. It's been three days since we cleaned the coop and they were even out in their tractor most of the afternoon on one of those days (it was raining the other days). We have a little fan on top of the coop that runs as long as the lights are on to help circulate the air. (From 5am until 10pm)

    I keep them inside longer than I did before, now that they are laying, so they lay their eggs in the nest boxes (can't free range them because I live in a neighborhood and I'm not even supposed to have chickens!)

    If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, PLEASE let me know...this is horrible!!!

    P.S. I have to close the shed at night because we have lots of coons and possums, and it's a pretty tight shed...but not air tight. It's one of those metal garden sheds with a coop inside it.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  2. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    I can only imagine by your description that its stuffy in there too. A metal shed? My coop is almost completely open on 2 entire sides with a constant cross breeze across the front wall of the coop and one under the roof.

    I would be figuring out how to get some air in there and LOTS of it.. think screened porch except use welded wire.

    not sure what type of bedding you use if any, but sand smells better than woodchips, i use both depending on the location & purpose.

    Added: Heres' my idea.... Buy a 10' or 25' roll of 1/2" hardware cloth. Then measure & mark a long wall length "window" on the side of your coop about 1' smaller than the hardware cloth so you can have 6 inches of metal wall to attach the screen to(don't put this on a windy side if you have a small coop) . Cut out the window and then unroll the hardware cloth and using 2 washers 1 screw & 1 nut you can button the screen onto the metal house with the overlapped area you have. You can use this same method in the winter time and just put a piece of plywood OVER the whole assembly fastened in the 4 corners with the button method.

    I'm sure you know that if the smell is bothering you, it's suffocating the birds right? Build a run out of welded wire top to bottom & leave shed open all the time?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2008
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I'm guessing that your biggest issue is that you are using a metal (they make things much hotter) shed which doesn't have enough ventilation as bodyflight has said.

    I agree that you need to get more cross ventilation through that coop and bodyflight's suggestion is a great one. If you can add a turbine to the roof that would also help. (maybe that is what the fan is that you mentioned?)

    How many chickens do you have in there and what size is the coop? It's possible you have too many chickens in too small of a space.
  4. Gindee77

    Gindee77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    QCA, Illinois
    Thanks for your suggestions! We are putting in a couple of vents today (as soon as they go out for the day...don't want to disturb their laying!!) And a turbine in the roof sounds like a good idea! It's really weird tho...we've had the same number of chickens, they haven't grown much in the past couple months and it was way hotter a month ago than it is now. So it's not the heat, nor the number of chickens (altho I probably do have a couple too many for the space we have...but they are mostly in there just to roost at night and now until they quit laying in the late morning) and the coop has always been in the metal shed. We never had a problem with this before. I figured it was either the bigger poops, something to do with the egg laying or the layer feed...because this NEVER happened until they started to lay a couple weeks ago! [​IMG]

    I guess I may have to get rid of 3 chickens...that would take us down to 8. The shed is 10X12, but the area they are contained in is a bit smaller than that. Maybe the vents will help. I like the idea of the windows you described bodyflight, but the walls of the shed are not flat, they aren't really corrugated, but they are raised 7" sections and it would be difficult to get a good seal on any window we put in. The vents we found to use will fit right into the 7" area.

    I'm just curious if this has happened to anyone else when their chickens started to lay?? [​IMG]

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