How often should I shovel out the coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ADK_FARM, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. ADK_FARM

    ADK_FARM New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2008
    Thurman, NY
    I have 24 chickens. They are inside for the winter. The coop is approximately 10X12. I cleaned them out in mid november and added wood shavings, but it is getting bad again. Should i spread another bag of wood shavings or should i clean them out again? What do others do regarding this? I would rather not clean them out every month thru winter, but I want them to be healthly and happy.
    Thanks!
    Mark
     
  2. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

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    Do you have a dropping board under their roosts? Or long containers to catch the poop? Since a lot of the droppings will occur at night, you could go a long way towards minimizing the amount that hits the shavings by catching them on something you can easily remove and scrape off into the compost pile.

    Wayne
     
  3. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master

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    When I first started raising chickens, we used to clean the coops once a month, no matter what time of year. Now, we are lucky to do it three times a year. I, like you, cleaned our coop this fall and its starting to get a bit bad. I plan on adding more woodshavings over the top of it until the smell starts to get too bad and cannot be controled.
     
  4. ChickLuver

    ChickLuver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Walton, New York
    I have the same problem....I feel in the winter I cant clean enough, and they poop like crazy cause they stay in so much. Any other suggestions would be great!!!!
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    In for the winter? No wonder it smells bad. I'm in a more severe climate than you and my birds get out every day. They had the option during the recent blizzard with an open pop door and though they stayed in most of the time it was their choice.

    I don't use the deep litter method either, I spot clean daily and treat the bedding with food-grade DE and Stable Boy powder. If your provided a run that the birds could use for a short time every day you could clean up then and they'll be healthier. Now I have cold-hardy birds, so that's an issue, too.

    Snow platforms are a godsend too, I first learned about them from pictures on a local webside at Circle Pond Farm. When the snow is high or the wind chill factor is too low the chickens will use them and thus get more light, then duck back inside.

    The money and time you put into a suitable run is in my opinion, the best money you spend on chicken care. Makes everything easy...[​IMG]

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    We added snow board after our second storm (we're having a difficult winter) and they work beautifully, shown in links below.

    And sheeting is cheap these days with the housing/mortgage crisis and merchants getting rid of overstocks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  6. Sissy

    Sissy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sevier county, Tn.
    Mark, I clean out my coop twice a year and have had no problems with flies in the summer or mites, It was cleaned in september and put down 2 bags of wood shaving on the floor,
    just give it a stir once a week. the next cleanup will be in March.
    but I do sprinkle into the shaving Permectrin powder.and toss a handfull in to the nest boxes. it about$ 8.00 at tractor supply and
    and is good for 200 chicks. hope this helps.
     
  7. ChickLuver

    ChickLuver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    True but winters here can be a little over whelming for my girls. There banty's some of them. So what are these "snow platforms" and can I make one easily? My babies see snow and turn right back around. They dont want there little toosies to get cold....[​IMG]. They literally fight to get back in from the run.
     
  8. ADK_FARM

    ADK_FARM New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2008
    Thurman, NY
    Thanks for all the responses.

    Underneath the roosts is were the poop piles up, so i think i am going to add dropping boards and clean those more frequently then the rest. Thanks for the suggestion waynesgarden.

    Also, the "snow platforms" seems like a good idea. Should i just buy some 4x8 plywood and raise it above the snow? It would be nice to let the chickens out weather permitting. This morning it is 10F and i shovelled some snow in their run, and a few hens came out to enjoy the sun.[​IMG]
     
  9. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Like everything else involving chickens, there are lots of ways to make and use snow platforms. They can be as simple as a table-like structure in the run, they can shelter the pop door, or not. They can be accessible by ramp, steps or even a hay bale. The big thing is that they be

    -sheltered
    -higher than the average snow drift in that part of your yard

    Because our pop doors are above the concrete foundation, our hens can be on a platform at the same height indoors and out. If I had a pop door slightly above ground level I think I'd build the platform so the birds are sheltered by the platform when they exit, then make access to the top. You could even build a little house on a platform so the birds can be 'out' but comfortable.

    We also built snow boards on the side of our run after the first storms here. They work like a charm and the girls have balked only once, when the wind chill was -23. I thought they showed remarkable sense, for chickens, on that day! [​IMG]


    Some specifics here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-seasonal-concerns
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  10. lorihadams

    lorihadams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a small coop that is elevated and I usually put 1-2 bags of shavings in it and spot clean with a cat litter scoop and it works great. I only clean it out completely every 2 or 3 months.

    Lori
     

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