I'm at a loss...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 8Chicks4Ky, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. 8Chicks4Ky

    8Chicks4Ky Out Of The Brooder

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    I just don't know what to do.

    My chickens make a complete mess of their coop. I put down straw and try to change it out every 7-10 days. I also use straw in their nest box. Their coop is over an attached run (chicken tractor). There is a hole in the bottom for their ramp. They are continually pushing all of the straw down the hole so that their poop is stuck to the coop floor (I put down a piece of linoleum). They also push all the straw out of their nest box. The poop then sticks to their feet and gets all in the nest box - making the eggs filthy. I had two nest boxes in there, but they only used one, so I took the other out. At least twice a week, one egg has been eaten. I just don't know what to do about this.

    Perhaps it's the construction of the tractor? - my husband built it his way despite my design recommendations. Perhaps it's the number of chickens in the tractor? Perhaps it's their nest box? - it's an 11x14 drawer box with a separate hood attached to the side of the coop.

    They have a constant supply of food (layer crumbles with oyster shell mixed in) and water (chicken nipple in PVC pipe). They get occasional scraps from the kitchen - probably not as much as they'd like.

    I feel like I'm doing things the wrong way. I don't really have time to spend more than 10 min/day, with exception for cleaning the coop days, and I feel like I have to keep running out there to check for eggs (so they don't eat them).

    Any suggestions would be great.
     
  2. catsew

    catsew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't really know anything, but I'm sure I can ask the beginning questions. What size is the indoor area? How many chickens? Regular or bantams (unless thats a pointless question if eggs aren't involved with bantams)?

    I know they say to put a lip on the front of the nest box to keep the nesting materials in. And we have a lip all the way around the inside of our coop to keep the pine shavings in. But other than that I'm not much help.
     
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Why don't you try pine shavings. That might be a little bit neater for you, and then you can do a little bit of spot cleaning daily with a kitty litter scoop. That's what I do. Plus, the pine shavings smell really nice. You can fluff them up, making things look fresher again.

    Also, I use a sanding block to scrub off the poo that gets on the roosts and other areas.

    Do you have sand in your run? That is the best stuff ever. You can also scoop the poop and rake it out daily, which keeps things neater and cleaner.

    Hope this helps!

    Sharon
     
  4. 8Chicks4Ky

    8Chicks4Ky Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 8 golden comets. Our run is 5x10 and the coop is 5x5. The coop has a hole in the bottom for the ramp, with a lip around it made of 1x1s. The nest box is raised up on bricks and it has 3" high sides.
     
  5. 8Chicks4Ky

    8Chicks4Ky Out Of The Brooder

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    I was using pine shavings at the beginning, but switched to straw since it was cheaper. I suppose i can go back to pine shavings. They like to kick the pine shavings out of the coop too, so I'm not sure if that's any better.

    I don't have sand in the run. We move the coop around the yard daily, so I'm not sure how that would work.
     
  6. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Oh, so you have a mobile coop. They will still kick some of the wood shavings out, that is true. It can't be helped, but I think it would be better than the straw.

    The two coops I have right now are a small 6x6 A-frame, and a larger 8x12 hen house. I have sand in the run of both, since they are stationary. But I use the pine shavings inside, and my chickens always knock them out a bit. I just rake it up daily, along with the poop.

    I don't give my chickens table scraps, because I think it's unhealthy. Maybe their poop wouldn't be so messy if they did't have the table food, and just had grass and layer feed? (I am guessing here...)

    Sharon
     
  7. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    We use pine chips and I clean the coop a few times a day. I sit in my chair and scoop out the poo while the girls jump in my lap. Our run is sand and dirt now the grass is gone. I take my scooper and clean that 1-2 times a day, usually in the afternoon. My husband cut a hole where he installed the feeder. In one corner there was a jagged edge. My girls took it upon themselves to make it much larger and eat away at the wall. We will have to repair that very soon. They also started pecking at the door frame leading to the outside, which was starting to crack before we built their home. Another reparing project. Luckily, these are small issues, but it's totally normal for the chickens to make things worse.

    I personally could not use straw/hay. I'd never be able to lift it out and clean it up. The pine chips I've found are very easy to clean. I'm disabled with a neck injury, so I need to make things more simple. I only have 8 chickens to look after. I take them out 3 times a day to free range supervised(we have dogs that run loose). I've found that daily cleaning makes it easier to maintain. My main cleaning is in the morning. Once a month or so I have Hubby help and we do a scrub down. Our coop is inside our garage, so it's important to keep the smell down. Actually, we can't smell anything more then a faint smell of pine chips on hot days.

    Good luck. I hope you find what works best for you.
     
  8. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    I don't like to see a messy coop or run either. I'm sure some people think I'm nuts because I'm out there, raking and scooping up the poo every evening. I just love to see the run cleaned up and all the sand raked around evenly.........

    I don't like to walk into the coop and see alot of poop laying around......I totally know how you feel. Maybe you should consider sitting your coop in one place and making the run a little bigger. You might like that better......They might need a bit more room in the run.....and then it would seem less poopy.

    And sand is just awesome for a chicken run......

    Take care and I hope you find something that makes you happy!

    Sharon
     
  9. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can always put a little sand down inside thir coop, topped with shavings, that way they are constantly wiping their feet...I would also build a bigger lip around the hole in their coop floor -perhaps 4 inches tall. Even if it is just on 3 sides, that is 3/4ths less bedding that will get kicked down the hole.

    You can always send DH out to clean the mess, then you don't have to point it out, he'll see the flaw pretty quickly if it is him scooping bedding from the run every day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  10. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The 1x1 is insufficient as you have found out. I use the long side of 2x4 and they still knocked some stuffing overboard.
     

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