How stinky are chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LivingLocal, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. LivingLocal

    LivingLocal Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2009
    Everyone I've mentioned having chickens to constantly tells me how smelly they are. So you tell me, how smelly is your flock?

    And has anyone heard of getting chicken feathers (I suppose the down) in their lungs? Neighbor says that it happens on a lot of farms, sort of like inhaling insulation.

  2. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    I don't think chickens smell any worse than any other animal, personally, I think dogs smell much worse, and most times, are much noisier too! I mean everything smells. I've got about 10 chickens in my back yard, and they don't really smell. I do from time to time, spray down their poo and stuff, but smell, I don't think so.
  3. Carolina Chicken Man

    Carolina Chicken Man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    If you keep the coop cleaned, they do not have much smell.

    I've never heard of people inhaling feather either.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Since I live surrounded by commercial chicken houses I think my chickens smell like roses. [​IMG]
    I always wear a mask when turning my shavings, adding new shavings or cleaning out the coop. You can get sick from it. Search 'histoplasmosis' here on BYC.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    People who think chickens are stinky have either kept them badly, or (possibly more common) not at all [​IMG]

    If they are kept at low stocking densities in hygeinic surroundings, and the coop and run are kept DRY, they do not stink. Although a coop often has a noticeable 'animals live here' smell when you go in, as distinct from say an empty toolshed. There *will* be a few extra flies. Not many, though, with good sanitation and a dry run.

    The problem isn't getting feathers in the lungs so much as dust and dander and fungal spores. That *is* a genuine concern, to some degree. Particularly for anyone with existing respiratory problems or an impaired immune system. But, no biggie -- just have plenty of ventilation, and wear a dust mask for anything where you kick up lotsa dust (chickens ARE quite dusty creatures when in an enclosed space!)

    Chickens are fun, you should try them [​IMG] (I sure never thought I'd ever be saying that when I first got some just for the eggs... [​IMG])

  6. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you keep up with there needs they have very little smell.
  7. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    They don't smell much. Less than dogs or cats. There is a slight odor in the coop. I imagine it would be a lot worse it wasn't kept clean and dry or if there was overcrowding. Also the smell is much less obnoxious than dog or cat poo.
    Most people on BYC reccomend wearing a dust mask when cleaning the coop.

    Once again my slow typing betrayed me. Good advice all!
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Chickens are only as smelly as YOU let them be. They groom themselves constantly and I often hold bad smell unless one just got pooped on by someone else. Its up to the owner to keep their environment clean. People told me the same thing and after they visited my coops, remarked on how odorless it was. And I have about 40 birds in the laying coop plus two other coops.

    I think dogs smell much worse. I'd take chicken poop over a poop-filled dog run any day of the week!
  9. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    If you do not keep it cleaned out proper (or your girls like to dump their food & water frequently as mine do) it CAN get smelly--- But if you change the straw/hay/wood shavings regularly and use DE in it-- they should be fine & dandy!
  10. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    My DH grew up next to a commercial chicken farm. He said that the barn that housed the chickens (100's of them) was never cleaned out, all winter! When spring came the farmer drove his tractor into the barn, with a plow blade and scooped up the entire accumulation of winter's poop. He claimed the smell would take your breath away from quite a distance! No hay, no straw, no wood chips- just poop. You can imagine how excited he was by the prospect of having chickens in his backyard again! A clean coop really only smells the tiniest bit (depending on weather conditions).... Certainly, nothing compared to a cow barn, etc. I was all prepared to wear a mask when I was cleaning out my coop- but really I just turn the fan on and shovel. Not really all that dusty.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by