How deep to make the hay???


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 9, 2014
I have been learning from your posts but I have a problem due to the number of birds in our coop.

There are probably 100 - 110 chickens of several varieties, turkeys, 10 Guineas and cornish and I find that it takes 3 days for fresh hay to be completely covered with a wet layer of droppings. The coop is about 12x12. If I don't turn the straw, ammonia starts to show up.

My problem is my sniffer doesn't pick up the ammonia right away. It has to be a bit stronger for me ti smell it.

How deep should the straw be would you say with this many birds?
That's really crowded! No way will either straw or hay be helpful; shavings turned over frequently, tons of ventilation, fans; you've got a commercial operation density and need to follow their procedures to manage. They also feed antibiotics to keep those stresses crowded birds doing better. Most of us here manage with four to six sq. ft. per bird, not 1.3 sq. ft. Mary
Wow! That is a lot of chickens. I am no expert, but for the 6 chickens that I have, I use pine shavings. During the summer I lay down one complete bundle, and in the wintertime I put down 2 bundles going with with a deep method.
Well as things are turning out. We are unintentionally culling the flock. Now have about 50 birds.
I am removing the top layers today and putting down more fresh straw.
I am not sure how much will be left underneath the compacted top.
I will be posting another question about diseases. I need help identifying one.
Thanks for the comments.
We are in the process of evaluating another structure for the birds. 3 sided 16x24 building to be lined with corn and straw bales. There is a heated waterer and I will either make another feeder 6 feet long or move the 8 foot one I built, into the new coop.
Nice thing is that they hold 150 - 200 pounds of feed. I modified the design a bit but it works great!! Birds have 16 feet of trough to feed from.

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