I inherited 22 hens and a rooster. Cleaning help please!!!

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
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The coop is custom from previous owners, roughly about 12'x9' fully enclosed, insulated, vented properly ( I think), and an elevated floor with indoor laminate wood flooring throughout the coop. Two small doors from the run into the coop and two narrow doors from foyer into the coop on opposite end. The run is 20'x20'. It's all white painted wood and cute but ridiculous to clean. I'll try and post existing photos with this post but add better ones when I can. I use pine shavings in coop and nesting beds. The run is dirt/mud/mucked out pine shavings from coop cleaning. I'm in southern Washington, LOT'S of rain. Pine shavings are soggy, nasty, don't dry out and I find myself completely changing out shavings almost weekly because of the ammonia and SO MUCH POOP. Does anyone have success with all purpose sand and a litter scoop? Also, can I line the painted wood interior with something easier to sipe down or remove to clean easily? I'm tempted to go to a corporate plastic molding company to get a mold custom made for the interior roosts. The design of the coop is really not cleaning friendly, it should have been a doll house. Can't afford to tear down and build new.
You can sort of see the roosts but not behind the roosts. I'll take more pics to post today. You can see the middle of the coop where I cut out the chicken wire so I can access, and the hens can access water and food more easily.
 

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LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
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I'll give you my person answer and then some other ideas:

My answer: I would start chowin' down on some chicken to lighten the load on the coop (fewer birds = less poop). Although you're doing OK based on square footage, it is a lot to clean.

Better answer: Free range them out into the yard/field/pasture. If they free range all day then they will be happier, healthier, and there will be less to clean. They will have fewer infestation problems from soiled bedding and cleaner feet. You will have a loss rate, but if it is manageable then I would say go for it.

You could also do poop boards (under their roost bars as they sleep).

Edit to say you also have to feed them less when they free range.
 

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
14
37
39
I'll give you my person answer and then some other ideas:

My answer: I would start chowin' down on some chicken to lighten the load on the coop (fewer birds = less poop). Although you're doing OK based on square footage, it is a lot to clean.

Better answer: Free range them out into the yard/field/pasture. If they free range all day then they will be happier, healthier, and there will be less to clean. They will have fewer infestation problems from soiled bedding and cleaner feet. You will have a loss rate, but if it is manageable then I would say go for it.

You could also do poop boards (under their roost bars as they sleep).
They free range on about 2 acres daily, poop boards are under roosts. I cleaned it all day yesterday and cleaned off about 10 lbs of poop this morning off just the boards. Is sand easier to manage poop than pine?
 

3KillerBs

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Welcome to BYC.

What lovely birds you have! There must be a story behind inheriting them but what a task to learn to manage chickens with such a large flock! :)

The coop is custom from previous owners, roughly about 12'x9' fully enclosed,

The Usual Guidelines say that each adult, standard-sized hen needs 4 square feet in the coop so that's an appropriate amount of space.

The run is 20'x20'.

Likewise at 10 square feet per bird in the run you have generous space.

This is great, because you don't have to cope with one of the most common problems causing poor sanitation -- overcrowding.

Wood shavings are the most common and most easily handled bedding, but they aren't necessarily the *best* bedding depending on circumstances -- especially out in the run.

First, how deep are you piling them when you change the bedding? Have you tried adding more shavings instead of removing and replacing them so often? This is my article on Deep Bedding: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/using-deep-bedding-in-a-small-coop.76343/

Yes, my article is targeted to a small flock in a small coop, but it's actually easier to manage deep bedding in a large coop than in a smaller space because there's room for more volume of bedding which means more capability for drying the poop out FAST.

Second, could we see more photos of the coop in and out? Especially photos of the ventilation?

Sometimes having enough area of ventilation -- ~ 1 square foot of 24/7/365 ventilation per bird -- isn't as important as having it in the right place. The right place being at the very top of the coop, because heat and ammonia both rise.

Third, you've got a very challenging climate for your run. How is the overall drainage? In addition to the regular rainfall, is any water running into the run off the coop roof, off other nearby structures, or over the ground through natural drainage channels?

Guttering helps with directing runoff from roofs and diversion ditches, French drain, and/or grass swales can move ground-level runoff around the run.

Coarse wood chips, the sort you get from a tree-trimming service, are usually considered the gold standard for dealing with muddy runs.

Is sand easier to manage poop than pine?

Some people think so. I don't. I think that Deep Bedding in the coop and Deep Litter in the run are the easiest to manage.

Almost all the people who use sand in their coop and/or run and who are happy with it over the long term live in dry climates.

I suggest that you go onto your Washington state thread to get advice directly from people who are living with the same climate. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/washingtonians-come-together-washington-peeps.717207/unread
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,739
4,503
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The Great Black Swamp, Ohio
Welcome to BYC.

What lovely birds you have! There must be a story behind inheriting them but what a task to learn to manage chickens with such a large flock! :)



The Usual Guidelines say that each adult, standard-sized hen needs 4 square feet in the coop so that's an appropriate amount of space.



Likewise at 10 square feet per bird in the run you have generous space.

This is great, because you don't have to cope with one of the most common problems causing poor sanitation -- overcrowding.

Wood shavings are the most common and most easily handled bedding, but they aren't necessarily the *best* bedding depending on circumstances -- especially out in the run.

First, how deep are you piling them when you change the bedding? Have you tried adding more shavings instead of removing and replacing them so often? This is my article on Deep Bedding: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/using-deep-bedding-in-a-small-coop.76343/

Yes, my article is targeted to a small flock in a small coop, but it's actually easier to manage deep bedding in a large coop than in a smaller space because there's room for more volume of bedding which means more capability for drying the poop out FAST.

Second, could we see more photos of the coop in and out? Especially photos of the ventilation?

Sometimes having enough area of ventilation -- ~ 1 square foot of 24/7/365 ventilation per bird -- isn't as important as having it in the right place. The right place being at the very top of the coop, because heat and ammonia both rise.

Third, you've got a very challenging climate for your run. How is the overall drainage? In addition to the regular rainfall, is any water running into the run off the coop roof, off other nearby structures, or over the ground through natural drainage channels?

Guttering helps with directing runoff from roofs and diversion ditches, French drain, and/or grass swales can move ground-level runoff around the run.

Coarse wood chips, the sort you get from a tree-trimming service, are usually considered the gold standard for dealing with muddy runs.



Some people think so. I don't. I think that Deep Bedding in the coop and Deep Litter in the run are the easiest to manage.

Almost all the people who use sand in their coop and/or run and who are happy with it over the long term live in dry climates.

I suggest that you go onto your Washington state thread to get advice directly from people who are living with the same climate. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/washingtonians-come-together-washington-peeps.717207/unread
Is there a concern for the deep bedding and the amount of rain/moisture?
 

LizzzyJo

Crowing
Dec 14, 2018
1,739
4,503
307
The Great Black Swamp, Ohio
They free range on about 2 acres daily, poop boards are under roosts. I cleaned it all day yesterday and cleaned off about 10 lbs of poop this morning off just the boards. Is sand easier to manage poop than pine?
Dang. You're doing it all right. Maybe you would just be happier with a lovely little flock of 6 girls and no boy? It seems that the amount of cleaning is putting a damper on your amount of enjoyment from your flock. Let's turn that around.
 

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
14
37
39
Is there a concern for the deep bedding and the amount of rain/moisture?
Thank you for such great feedback. I guess I'm concerned with the smell, respiratory issues and poop smear. The pine tends to stick to their feet and they track poop everywhere. It's also like paste to scrape off once it dries. I figured with sand, it might act as an exfoliating mechanism and since it's heavier it may tend to stay on the floors/poop boards and not all over the walls. At least in my mind theoretically it would work that way... Looking for anyone with this experience. I'll post more thorough pics today.
Please allow me to add the run is not covered, I plan to add roofing this spring, but the rain just soaks everything allowing the birds track in mud/poop/etc as well.
 
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3KillerBs

Enabler
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Jul 10, 2009
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North Carolina Sandhills
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Is there a concern for the deep bedding and the amount of rain/moisture?

Deep bedding absorbs moisture from the poop and from tracked-in mud and helps it dry -- as long as there is enough volume of bedding and as long as it stays fluffy.

I guess I'm concerned with the smell, respiratory issues and poop smear. The pine tends to stick to their feet and they track poop everywhere. It's also like paste to scrape off once it dries. I figured with sand, it might act as an exfoliating mechanism and since it's heavier it may tend to stay on the floors/poop boards and not all over the walls.

If you're having odor problems with that much space for your birds I suspect that you need either more ventilation total or more top-level ventilation.

Alternately you might not be using enough depth of bedding to rapidly dehydrate the poop.

Since you've got poop boards, which I don't use, I'm going to tag @DobieLover and @aart to have a look at the arrangement.

I'm also tagging @rosemarythyme who lives in your general area, IIRC.
 

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
14
37
39
Deep bedding absorbs moisture from the poop and from tracked-in mud and helps it dry -- as long as there is enough volume of bedding and as long as it stays fluffy.



If you're having odor problems with that much space for your birds I suspect that you need either more ventilation total or more top-level ventilation.

Alternately you might not be using enough depth of bedding to rapidly dehydrate the poop.

Since you've got poop boards, which I don't use, I'm going to tag @DobieLover and @aart to have a look at the arrangement.

I'm also tagging @rosemarythyme who lives in your general area, IIRC.
Thank you soon much! I'll get those photos posted in a couple hours or so...
 

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