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

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
14
37
36
I LOVE your setup. So open and spaced out.
Definitely will be adding lips to the poop boards, I'll hold off on sand in the run and add a ton of yard debris, etc. I also read, was it you?, Boot trays... That's brilliant for liners! Sturdy to work with and clean off. Loving this forum. Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and advice!!!
 

Fontaine

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Jun 20, 2020
159
257
133
Naples Florida
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?
I use a course sand in my coop and run and I love it. In the morning I use a wide kitty litter type scoop and just scoop up the poop leaving the clean sand behind. My birds free range during the day but eat in the coop during the day also.I don’t know if it’s just my birds wanting to stay clean but they do not poop all day long in their coop while they’re eatingAre returning to use the nest boxes. So for me it’s one and done!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,177
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
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As you see it's laminate wood flooring which is already moisture warped. I might remove for regular floorboards? I think...

I did the deep litter method this summer and even with cleaning every day to three days, the smell was overwhelming.

I'd definitely NOT attempt deep litter in the coop with this flooring as the floor is already taking moisture damage (run is different, absolutely try deep litter). Deep litter favors having moisture for composting down poop, therefore it doesn't work in most coop set ups.

You mentioned trying sand for the coop, which can work if you're willing to scoop it out daily. I know there's specific sizes of sand that folks favor but I know very little about it, so unfortunately I can't make recommendations.
Most birds are in the roosts but about 5 or so stay perched over the nesting boxes and poop all over the entrances to those.
A sloped top/cover on top of the nest box will prevent birds from sleeping up there. A simple way to make one is to hinge a piece of scrap plywood over the top of the nests. 45 degree slope as shown below is ideal, I've watched a chicken try to sit on top of my nests and slooowly slide right off.

coop3b.jpg

I'm also curious as to how much roost space you have, as 23 birds = 23' in roost, and not sure you have that much, which might be contributing to birds sleeping on top of the nests.

As far as the venting goes, I'll be adding screens to roof line vents to help with flys. Summer time is horrendous. Already dealt with fly strike. Three of four small windows have screens and two large windows don't open. I don't open the non-screened window as it's not covered by the chicken wire of the run.
I do have screens on my windows, just keep in mind they need to be cleared of dust every so often so they don't clog up (I use a broom to loosen and leaf blower to blow them out).

Incidentally chicken wire isn't predator proof, but it'd be costly to replace/layer on that much hardware cloth. Might want to look into electric for extra security against bigger predators.
 

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
14
37
36
I'd definitely NOT attempt deep litter in the coop with this flooring as the floor is already taking moisture damage (run is different, absolutely try deep litter). Deep litter favors having moisture for composting down poop, therefore it doesn't work in most coop set ups.

You mentioned trying sand for the coop, which can work if you're willing to scoop it out daily. I know there's specific sizes of sand that folks favor but I know very little about it, so unfortunately I can't make recommendations.

A sloped top/cover on top of the nest box will prevent birds from sleeping up there. A simple way to make one is to hinge a piece of scrap plywood over the top of the nests. 45 degree slope as shown below is ideal, I've watched a chicken try to sit on top of my nests and slooowly slide right off.

View attachment 2914761

I'm also curious as to how much roost space you have, as 23 birds = 23' in roost, and not sure you have that much, which might be contributing to birds sleeping on top of the nests.


I do have screens on my windows, just keep in mind they need to be cleared of dust every so often so they don't clog up (I use a broom to loosen and leaf blower to blow them out).

Incidentally chicken wire isn't predator proof, but it'd be costly to replace/layer on that much hardware cloth. Might want to look into electric for extra security against bigger predators.
I definitely don't think there's enough roost space and they seem too close together. I'm thinking of reinforcing the mid beam to be able to take out the middle floor beams... I don't know for sure if they're even load bearing. Doing this and moving food and water into run may free up space in the coop for sleeping and nesting and also help the poop situation a bit. To be continued...
I have received so many awesome tips and fantastic feed back. Thank you so much!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,177
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1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I'm thinking of reinforcing the mid beam to be able to take out the middle floor beams... I don't know for sure if they're even load bearing. Doing this and moving food and water into run may free up space in the coop for sleeping and nesting and also help the poop situation a bit.
Yes, that would be a great thing to figure out if those supports in the middle are load bearing or not - if not, I would definitely consider removing them as they're eating up space and making it harder for you to access the coop.

Like several others on here, I also have some covered feeding areas out in the run to make up for the lack of roof/weather protection in my run. It really does make a difference to encourage the flock to mainly stay in the run during the day - my coop stays dry despite the regular rain and I only have to scoop up a couple poops in the main portion of the coop each day, as they're not in there long enough to be pooping in there.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,630
18,858
726
USA
Yes, that would be a great thing to figure out if those supports in the middle are load bearing or not - if not, I would definitely consider removing them as they're eating up space and making it harder for you to access the coop.
I cannot say whether they are load bearing, but it looks like the coop was originally divided into two parts, so the chickens could be managed as two separate flocks.

Sometimes that is a great thing (like when separating groups for breeding, or brooding a batch of chicks in one part while some older birds live in the other part), but other times it is not so good (when you want to manage the chickens as a single large flock, and don't want that stuff in the way.)

But I would think before trying to take those out: are you likely to want to divide the coop in future? If not, I agree with removing them (if they are not load-bearing.)
 

MamaBirda

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2021
14
37
36
I cannot say whether they are load bearing, but it looks like the coop was originally divided into two parts, so the chickens could be managed as two separate flocks.

Sometimes that is a great thing (like when separating groups for breeding, or brooding a batch of chicks in one part while some older birds live in the other part), but other times it is not so good (when you want to manage the chickens as a single large flock, and don't want that stuff in the way.)

But I would think before trying to take those out: are you likely to want to divide the coop in future? If not, I agree with removing them (if they are not load-bearing.)
Yes, we thought about the brooding chicks possibly too. At this point, I don't know about our future with chicks but I'm thinking this could be an easy fix with a temp divider until they're grown, if we take the beams out now. I think long term, the ease of "now" is worth the temp fix in the future. As it is, they'll be no new chickens if all my time is cleaning what I currently have.
 

RoyalChick

Addict
Premium Feather Member
Nov 3, 2019
8,625
94,998
1,251
Northern New Jersey
My Coop
My Coop
Ok. That's a great tip on a little at a time... I probably was putting down too much at once.
What I do is just add a bit on top to cover over when it looks poopy. Then it looks clean again and nature miraculously breaks everything down so it really becomes clean.
I recently had to dig down to base level (which for me is dirt) in order to do some construction in the corner under the roost. The poopiest part of everywhere. And down at the bottom it had all turned into lovely fine soil which is going straight on the roses!
 

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