good poop board or injury waiting to happen?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kie4, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, My coop is still under construction, but the girls have moved in, are 7 week old and are pooping a lot.
    I've looked at a lot of the solutions to this on backyard chickens and the best solution I saw was the poop trough with external door to brush poops out into a wheelbarrow. Something like that would require a coop redesign so I started experimenting with the simpler solution of a poop board.

    My 4 pullets are not fully grown, so I put up a test board that was 12 inches wide.

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    Sure enough after 2 hours I was pleased to see a nice collection of poops on the board.

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    In the morning the flimsy old piece of thin OSB had snapped, but it had opened my eyes to the benefits of a poop board as I had a few fresh poops for the compost and not lost in the pine shavings.

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    Test number 2 is a shiny piece of hardboard with thing wooden supports.

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    Slotted in at an angle the idea is that the poops roll down and collect in the left side.

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    The 4 chickens seem to always huddle together on the same side of the roost. The roost is 4 ft wide but they only use about 4 inches of it. If this pattern continues for ever then I could just hang a bucket.

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    Board is on an angle, and slippery. Day 1 and the chickens seem fine with it.
    Am I inviting a leg injury from a chicken slipping on this angled surface?
    Should this poop board be made level for safety?

    Should I cut a hole in the coop wall so that poop rolls down and out into an easy collection tray?

    Should I replace the hardboard with a slow moving conveyor belt that goes through the coop wall, removes poop on the other side into collection tray, then self cleans as it passes back through?

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    The conveyor belt is a good idea. [​IMG]Would love to see pics of it in action.

    What works best for me is a tray with a sand/zeolite mixture and then I scoop it with a kitty litter scoop every few days into a bucket, which gets dumped into the compost bin.

    Poop can vary in texture from very liquid to firm, and in my experience, doesn't really "roll". Some people scrape boards clean with a putty knife, or shake out a poop cloth/hammock, but the sand/zeolite mix works well and keeps the feces dry so they don't smell. The zeolite also helps absorb ammonia, and releases the nitrogen back into the garden slowly.

    Good luck!
     
  3. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I vote for the poop conveyor! [​IMG]

    A morning "cleansing" after everyone is up would probably be easier (and significantly cheaper) than something slow moving, think hand crank or simple switched motor. Also, after hearing that motor/servo noise every half hour, I see in my mind 4 chickens either stuck to the ceiling in fright, or face down on the poop conveyor and ready to go into the collection container from lack of sleep... [​IMG]

    Have fun!
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if you are aware of it, but your conveyor idea is what some commercial laying houses use to remove droppings from beneath the laying cages. Droppings drop directly on these conveyor belts, which run the length of the buildings. For some, that is over 500 feet. Once a day they come on and send a river of the stuff out one end of the building into a litter house where it resides until it can be loaded up and spread on grain fields or pastures. At the same time, birds in those houses lay their eggs on the cage floor where they roll down onto small belt conveyors and once a day, those conveyors come on and send a river of eggs out the other end of the building. Largest house like that I've seen housed about 100,000 birds each. Smallest I've seen housed about 30,000 each. Even with 4 birds, same process and principle might apply.......only thing different being the scale, except that yours would only snag the stuff they drop while on the roosts. The rest will fall somewhere else. So maybe a lot different. A lot of expense for not all that much benefit?

    BTW, traditional droppings boards were made of tongue and groove car siding and in lengths of about 4 feet or so. Something one person could easily lift out to clean. About the same as a 2' x 4' piece of 3/4" plywood. That thick because that was what they had to work with. You could do the same with lighter weight 3/8" or 1/2" plywood or MDO, with a piece of Formica sheeting or FRP glued to the surface so it would be easy to clean. As you discovered, it only needs to be wide enough to catch what falls from beneath the roost. If only a single roost bar, maybe no wider than a foot or so,

    Once upon a time it was also common practice to make a droppings pit or box beneath the roosts. The top of this pit was only 2 feet or so above the floor of the house, which might hold 100 or more birds. Roosts were elevated over this box, with 1" x 2" wire separating them to keep the birds out of the pit. Droppings would accumulate in this box to depths of a foot or more. Once or twice a year they would go in and shovel all that out by hand. I can't imagine how nasty a job that must have been.

    Lastly comes the deep litter or built up litter option. What I like to think of as the thick diaper method. This may be the best method yet for dealing with what is a nasty situation under the best of circumstances.
     
  5. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the tip @FridayYet. I'm seeing a lot of variety of poop already, some roll to the bottom and some stick. I'm considering for my next iteration to put a collection box under a slot so that I don't have to take the large poop slider out and can do a big wash every few weeks or so.
     
  6. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our OSB poop board has never broke or fallen. It's supported with 2x4s secured to the coop walls. A simple modification maybe all you need.

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  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You only have four chickens and they are still pretty young from what I read in your post, 7 weeks. They will probably spread out more as they mature. Chicks really like to huddle together, adults often spread out more, especially in the heat of summer. You may find the droppings board could be a bit wider too. If it’s only a foot wide you may be missing some you could otherwise catch.

    Chickens poop a lot all the time, whether on the roost or just walking around. During the day it is scattered but at night since they are in one place it accumulates. Getting it out of your coop can help your bedding last a lot longer so you don’t have to clean the entire coop floor nearly as often.

    Something you might consider is to get a plastic bin or two from Walmart or someplace similar and just put that on the floor under the roosts. As long as your door is big enough you can carry that outside that’s about as easy as you can get as far as collecting and cleaning with as few chickens as you have.

    The top of my built-in brooder is my droppings board but the brooder is only 6’ long. That leaves a space at the end of the roosts. I keep a couple of plastic bins in that area to catch droppings. When I scrape that droppings board I scrape it into a bin, which I then carry to my compost bin. Pretty easy.

    There are so many different ways you can do any of this. The idea is pick one that is convenient for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  8. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For only four chickens, you could get one of the plastic boot trays that are 4 feet long by 18 inches wide and 2 inches deep. Put a little PDZ in it and you're ready to go.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  10. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Listen to aart, he knows of which he speaks. :lau
     

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