Frozen poop in coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Fourgirlyhens, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. Fourgirlyhens

    Fourgirlyhens In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2016
    Juneau, Alaska
    It's my first winter with chickens. It's been really cold and their droppings froze to the bottom of the coop. I can't seem to get it all clean. There is sand in there but with the coop it's all frozen together. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Should I just love it until it warms up?

  2. teaton

    teaton Songster

    Apr 10, 2016
    Clarksville, TN
    I always lay straw down in winter and i do not clean it out i add more straw ontop of it when it gets too messy and so on and so on until it warms back up in spring then i thoroughly clean out the coop. Doing it that way keeps the coop warmer during the winter.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.


    I hold the bag in place with these paper binders.

    Easy Peasy Japaneasy

  4. shortgrass

    shortgrass Crowing

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I have a couple of kids and scrapers. They get to go scrape poo when they get in trouble :D

    Seriously though, I line the floor and poop board with straw and scoop it all in one big chunk in the spring. Some like to use the deep litter method, but my floor is wood, so no can do.

    I don't mind it; it stays frozen until April, so by then its a nice big solid chunk that pops out nicely and goes right to the compost pile. :)

  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I break out chunks with a shovel on warm days and add more shavings. The deeper the pine shavings the easier it is. Feb. is when I've had litter so saturated with frozen poop it's a solid block under the roosts until March thaw. Believe I've fixed that problem by doing a thorough clean pre winter. There is enough clean shavings between poop and floor the top frozen layer prys up. That and making sure to shovel out a lot of shavings if we have a winter thaw in January. If I don't shovel it out then they'll thoroughly mix everything up so come cold weather again it's a solid block.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I think a lot depends on your coop and how many chickens you have to determine poop density. Do you use droppings boards? Is it a tiny elevated coop or a walk-in on the ground? What kind of floor does it have, dirt, wood, linoleum, or something else? What, if any, bedding do you use? I don’t know what kind of weather you’ll have in Juneau throughout the winter either. Does it freeze solid until March or April or, being on the coast, will you have days it thaws out? These are the kinds of things I’d consider when making my decision on what to do.

    In general, there aren’t any health problems with frozen poop. Since it is frozen, it’s not giving off a significant amount of moisture so once it freezes it’s not a frostbite concern. When frozen it’s not being digested by microbes so it’s not giving off ammonia. Once it is frozen the chickens are not tracking it around or getting it on eggs if they are still laying.

    It’s when it thaws that you have issues. It can quickly become a wet stinky mess. That’s the time I’d be concerned, when it thaws.
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Crowing

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Good points, @Ridgerunner. I get almost zero poopy eggs in winter :D

    Now, if I could keep the eggs from freezing on me, I'd be happy ;)

    I know last year I got lazy and just started covering it all up with more straw and didn't get it out fast enough. But I just gutted the whole coop after that anyway. I try to have the girls go out and at least scoop off the poop deck for me since it can get pretty heavy and I get concerned its going to bring down my whole roost, but I'm unnaturally paranoid in that respect :D

    In the smaller coops, that might not work. It might have to be more of a monthly or even weekly scoop project. In that case, I would be inclined to use the feed bags under the roost so I can just pull the bag out and have it all in one pile. I'd need 10 bags though... I have a big piece of solid plastic board under the roost on the floor, and that gets removed 2x a year for major cleaning, spring and fall.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016

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