Help me with my stinky coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by purpletree23, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had chickens chickens for years at the last house we lived in and I've never had this problem. Please help.

    The girls have a 12X8 coop (shed) with a vent at the peak on front and back, three windows with screens and the pop door. I have 10 chickens so they aren't crowded. The floor is wood that I painted with a really good outdoor paint. My coop stinks stinks stinks!

    Here in NH it is hard to find straw and the prices are out of this world so I use wood chip bedding I get at Tractor Supply. Every morning I flip over the bedding and mix it well. There are no leaks from the roof or the waterers so the bedding is dry....maybe too dry. I sweep down the walls and ceiling to keep the dust from accumulating too much. Each morning the girls are let out to range in a large enclosed area. It is grassy and is not muddy or bare.

    During the day the girls only go into the coop to eat, lay eggs or drink. The also have water and food outside.

    Should I use a different bedding? The latest Backyard Poultry issue talks about deep litter and using leaves as bedding. The article also stated (if I remember correctly) that he is able to harvest nice compost from his coop.

    If I pick up 2 hands full of litter there is very little poop in it. No ammonia smell but stinks. I've tried stall dry and sweet pdz but they only help for a day or 2. Tomorrow I'll clean the coop again, put the litter on my compost pile and it still looks clean.

    Should I mist the litter with water? Maybe add some soil to get the deep litter process going? Use straw? Try leaves? Alfalfa pellets?

    I'm stumped and frustrated. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    maybe too dry

    It's can't be "too dry"

    Moisture will cause more odor.

    Add a thicker layer of shavings, about 40 lbs of AG lime, and STOP stirring it around, and the odor will take care of itself​
     
  3. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may also try using diatomaceous earth. It keeps everything very dry, helps absorb odor and is supposed to help with flies. We start with about six inches of pine chips and a good sprinkle of D.E. About every week or two we add a good sprinkle of de (quart mason jar 9x9 coop 26 chickens) and once a month add bedding. No smell at all. We change out the bedding about every three or four months. We also don't stir the bedding all that much either.
     
  4. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK so two vote on stop stirring which I will do starting today.

    Is 40 pounds of AG lime too much for that space? Is it a powder or a 'crumble'? Will it burn the chickens feet? Will it hurt their lungs if it becomes airborn? Can I still use the old litter on my compost pile? Won't the lime change the PH of the soil?

    Thank you so much the the replies. [​IMG]
     
  5. chickendales

    chickendales Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:you put line on clean floor then add thick layer of shaveing
     
  6. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yes, powder, no, most likely not a concern, yes, yes it will increase the PH.

    Thats why we use DE.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Since you said that your litter is dry, doesn't smell like ammonia and doesn't even have much poop in it, I'm wondering if you've changed what you're feeding? Some people have noticed a big difference in odor when they changed feed, due to a difference in ingredients.

    If your litter was damp or smelled like ammonia, I'd be saying to add more shavings, too.

    Also, I just wanted to double check something. Have you taken some of the litter outside and smelled it? Just to confirm that it's the litter? Is this a new coop or did someone house other creatures in it before you moved there? I wondered if you could be getting a smell from the structure itself.
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Is 40 pounds of AG lime too much for that space? Is it a powder or a 'crumble'? Will it burn the chickens feet? Will it hurt their lungs if it becomes airborn? Can I still use the old litter on my compost pile? Won't the lime change the PH of the soil?

    You can't have "too much", and it comes in 40 lb bags
    Get pellets, not powder
    No it won't burn. AG lime is Calcium Carbonate which is chemically identical to Oyster Shell
    Make SURE the label says Calcium Carbonate
    Pellets don't have too much dust
    Yes you can compost it, and yes it will change the Ph, which is how it controls the odor.
    Most soils are too acidic anyway, so adding lime usually helps​
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  9. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Pregnant chicken keeper? [​IMG] Seriously, I found myself much less tolerant of odors that didn't bother me before.
     
  10. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:[​IMG]

    I'm trying to understand why dry would stink.

    To compost you actually need some moisture to have a decaying process; lime could stop this process in the early stages. You may need to choose one way or the other; try one and see if it works for you Lime eliminates the ammonia odor.

    I'm stumped by "stinks" because decay is not happening if the bedding is very dry. Hummm?

    Hope you find an answer to this riddle!
     

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