How to keep chickens out of barn short of physically blocking it off?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by qwigoqwaga, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. qwigoqwaga

    qwigoqwaga Out Of The Brooder

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    We have goats and naturally they have a barn to sleep in. Normally, we just put in fresh straw whenever it starts getting too dirty and poopy, so it's usually pretty clean and doesn't smell terrible. We intended for our chickens to be free range, but they love going into the barn. The problem isn't necessarily them being in the barn, but the fact that they love to dig around in the straw which means digging up all the poop and dirty straw underneath the fresh. I'd really like for them to be able to free range, but we don't want them to keep dirtying up the barn.

    How can you keep chickens out of a particular place? We can't put up a physical barrier because the goats still need to be able to come and go as they please, but right now we can only let the chickens out in the evenings when we're there to supervise and chase them out of the barn. Is there another way to discourage them from going into it?
     
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Sorry about this being blunt, but that points to a lack of proper maintenance and cleaning of the barn, clean out the poop and old straw and you won't have said problem...

    If you want to keep the chickens out look into pvc strip curtain doors, it will deter the chickens from entering...
     
  3. qwigoqwaga

    qwigoqwaga Out Of The Brooder

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    We do clean it out completely twice a year. Normally it's pretty clean. But the goats like to hang out and inevitably poop in there, but the poop usually mostly falls to the bottom, which is why it's problematic for the chickens to dig it up.

    Thank you, I'll look that up.
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    Yes, I know the poop falls to the bottom that is why I go about about once a week to my barn and using a pitchfork I move the straw to the side as well as fluffing it up... This allows me to easily remove the poop that falls to the bottom and is left behind, so there is little to no build up of poop or dirty bedding... In addition to weekly poop removal maintenance I also do a 100% clean and replace twice a year, the twice a year cleaning is no substitute for weekly or daily cleaning though, unless you are using a deep litter method, and in that case the chickens turning it is a very good thing and saves you the hassle of turning it daily...

    I just can't see chickens scratching causing that big of an issue unless there is an excess of poop and dirty straw...
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    My chickens have free access in my goats part of the shed, I like that they dig around, I do use hay instead of straw for bedding, we only clean it out once a year as well, I guess I don't understand why the chickens are a problem for you, I like that mine mix it up and keep it fluffed up.
     
  6. qwigoqwaga

    qwigoqwaga Out Of The Brooder

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    Personally, I don't see it as a huge deal, but my dad doesn't like it. I think he's probably concerned about the goats laying in the poopy straw and getting smelly. We only have seven dwarf goats in a barn with plenty of room for them and free access to almost 2 acres of pasture, so it doesn't get terribly messy to begin with and our goats stay surprisingly clean for farm animals. We basically do deep litter and just add fresh straw as needed in the summer and a bit more in winter. There's still quite a bit of dirty straw accumulated at the bottom and the chickens don't care and dig that up, which we don't want the goats laying and standing in. I think we might try putting in more fresh straw, like put in a large/deeper layer when we put in straw, and hopefully then the chickens would only dig around the fresh straw and not dig down to the messy stuff underneath.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Trust me, your chickens already know the manure is there. They will literally dig through as much as 18" - 24" of straw to get to the manure.
     
  8. qwigoqwaga

    qwigoqwaga Out Of The Brooder

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    So you don't think more straw will help? Do they intentionally seek out the manure or do they just like digging?
     
  9. Jesusfreak101

    Jesusfreak101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Manure attracts bugs so they looking for bugs.
     
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    They will dig a hole to China, especially in nice, loose litter like that. You can add more straw but they'll just keep digging and scratching. Chickens are foragers and if they think they can find a bug or a seed they are going to dig like crazy and have great fun doing it. My chickens have access to about an acre of pasture but they spend most of the day in my goat barn scratching around. But I don't keep it completely bedded in straw, only a small area where the goats like to lay down. The rest of floor is raked daily, everything is removed weekly. For me and my back this is just easier then doing a massive cleanout once or twice a year.
     

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