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How often must I scrape droppings board?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by speeps76, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. speeps76

    speeps76 Out Of The Brooder

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    I ask because our rooster attacks anyone but me. On occasion, I have to go out of town for about a week, so no one would be going inside to clean. Would a droppings board about 4x6 feet for 7 birds be ok for a week if I leave a good layer of shavings on it? The birds are pretty big - BOs and BRs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Instead of shavings, I like to use PDZ (zeolite) on my droppings board. It dries out the droppings much faster and absorbs ammonia so there is minimal to no smell.

    I have a board 3 x 10 under a 10' roost that 8 birds use. longest I've left it without cleaning was 10 days, and it sure needed it when I got home, although since most of the poop was dry, it wasn't too bad and with 1" of PDZ and a kitty litter scoop, was very easy to clean.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. speeps76

    speeps76 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! Maybe I can mix a little PDZ with some shavings to help. I haven't used it before. Is it compostable?
     
  4. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Get the granular PDZ and it acts kind of like sand in the compost. Bear River sells their zeolite as a garden amendment "Molly Magic".

    My droppings board actually has a mixture of sand, zeolite and pelletized gypsum that I use as a giant chicken litter box. Grit covered manure goes right into the compost bin.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm also a PDZ fan. We get it at Tractor Supply Co. and it's sold as Stall Freshner. I like the grandular form. It absorbs moisture and odor.

    To tidy up the poopboard I use a mesh paper tray (like used on an office) to sift the dropping out. A wide putty knife helps to 'shovel' it into the tray. I then throw it in the compost. Clean-up is quick.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    You should be fine for a week, especially if you do like they said. I don’t use PDZ so I’ll ask the ones that do, do you contain the PDZ with something to keep them from scratching it off the droppings board or do you use a flat board with no raised edges?

    To me the main problem with droppings is that they smell when they get wet. As long as they don’t smell I don’t have a problem with them. They might get wet because it is rainy and the air is so moist they just don’t dry out well. Or if you have a high concentration of chickens in a small area, the droppings can get so thick they just don’t dry out.

    The second problem is that I want the droppings in my compost instead of in the bedding in the coop. I can go a lot longer without cleaning the bedding out of the coop if most of the night-time droppings go in the compost. I generally clean out the bedding in my coop floor once every three to four years, not because I need to but because I want that stuff on my garden. My coop is 8’ x 12’ and it stays really dry. A smaller coop or one that gets wet would probably need to be cleaned out more often.

    My main laying/breeding flock is normally 7 hens and one rooster, thought there are times I have a lot more chickens in the coop as I grow them out and evaluate the pullets for laying to see which ones I keep. My droppings board is a sheet of plywood over a 3’ x 6’ built-in brooder. I do not put shavings, PDZ, or anything else on that plywood though I did paint it a long time ago. With more than eight full sized chickens I can go anywhere from one week to over three weeks without scraping it. A big factor in that is how wet it is outside so it can dry.

    I’m confident you will do a lot more in this than I do and I don’t have problems. Don’t worry about this at all. You will be fine.
     
  7. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Hi ridgerunner, i currently do not have a lip around my droppings board, The PDZ/ sand/ gypsum mix is just piled on the board, which used to be a shelf on my coop. I also have a roost under the board, for a few heavy birds that like to be closer to the ground and where the youngsters usually start roosting, The same mix is on the floor of the coop too, so if some falls from above, no big deal. Putting a lip on the board is on my list of things to do someday! But I don't really seem to need it.

    Just seems easier to me than scraping poop off a "clean" board, since the PDZ keeps things from sticking. Manure goes right into the compost, too.

    I do have deep litter in the run though, and it works great out there.

    Lots of different ways to care for chickens and its all good. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  8. speeps76

    speeps76 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all so much! I'm definitely going to get the PDZ. I feel much better about leaving them for a week now. If only my silly roo would get over himself now.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Glad to see the gardening application info, thanks @FridayYet .
    ETA: don't see a place to purchase and am curious about their cost.
    Knew the PDZ was probably safe for the garden/compost, and figured but didn't know if the nitrogen absorbed in it would be available to plants or not.

    I use a lip on board and is lined with vinyl sheet flooring which also helps with 'sticking', especially in winter.
    Gets sifted out 2-3 times a week, depending on population, and goes to a friends compost.
    Mixed with sand and about a 1/4" - 1/2" deep (any deeper and they tend to dust bathe in it) it lasts a long time just needs topping off once in a while.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  10. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 1" x 1" border around the poopboard to keep the PDZ from being scattered.
     

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