Is it possible to over clean my coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Scotty from BI, May 22, 2016.

  1. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    I am retired and home a lot. I have 11 Wyandotte chickens in a 5' x 20' coop. I added about 8"-9" deep of wood shavings in hopes that I would not have to change the bedding more than once in a year or more. I clean the droppings about 3 times a day from the top of the shavings and have a large dropping board under their perch with PDZ. So in effect the 8" bed of shavings stays almost pristine as if new indefinitely. I haven't yet, but might add some Diatomaceous Earth powder to control mites or bugs if needed. But my question is, am I doing a good thing by keeping the shavings free or nearly free of droppings or do the droppings serve a beneficial purpose? Would I be better off just letting the droppings stay in the shavings stirring them up occasionally to keep them dry and let it become some sort of mulch? It seem almost counter intuitive to have months and months of accumulated bird poop in the bedding. The poop is pretty disgusting especially that gooey secum poop, (you know what I am referring to).

    I should mention, I also have a 5' x 60 foot long dirt run that the chickens use during the day although they do seem to spend a lot of time in the coop during the day because it is so clean and comfortable and they seem to love it. I don't mind cleaning although it is something I just started doing so maybe down the line it will grow into more of a chore and less of something I will keep doing. Anyway, I am not sure entirely if just poop and dry pine wood shavings is enough or okay for the deep liter method of coop management. Most of the people who do the deep liter seem to add other things like leaves and grass etc. I don't want to do that nor do I have the resources to do that so it will never be more than wood and poop. Approximately how long can I go between changing the bedding if I allow all the poop to stay in the shavings and just stir it up occasionally and do I run the risk of contaminating the coop with all that built up bacteria from the poop with no dirt or other bedding material besides the wood shavings?

    Thanks, I am really trying to understand the coop liter issue but there is so much conflicting information I am just a bit confused.
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    There's nothing wrong with keeping your coop hygienic XD. When your body aches from doing it though, you should take a rest. I worked as a farm hand in my early teens and you'd be surprised how poorly some people keep their chickens and coops. I'm sure you're doing fine. The cleaner your coop, the happier your customers will be when they come to visit.
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  3. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    Thanks Whitney it's actually pretty easy I just use one of those dark scoops on the long handles. I don't really mind doing it there's no bending over and I don't have to touch anything nasty. But I have read a lot of posts about how beneficial the deep litter method is, Which involves just leaving the poops in the shavings and string them up. It would certainly be a lot easier to do nothing but Stir the shavings but is actually better for them in the long run or is keeping the shavings clean of poop the better option? Even in the best case scenario I will never be able to get every single dropping but I can get about 90% of them.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The whole point of the wood shavings is to dry out the poops and 'use up' the nitrogen(ammonia) in the poops.
    8-9" is overkill, IMO, both cost and labor-wise.

    I also use a poop board and shavings in the floor....doing a total change out of floor shavings 1-2 times a year.
    Starting with 1-2" of shavings, just enough to keep the poops from sticking to the floor and adding once in awhile,
    mostly in winter when they spend more time in the coop(more poops) and for the insulative value.
    It tops out at about 4" to maybe 6" deep, probably a total of 2-3 bales a year in a 6'x12' coop.
    But my floor is vinyl and I shove the shavings(and poop) out of the way when I go in to feed and clean the boards every other day,
    which mixes them up and keeps my shoes cleaner.

    I do more of a deep litter out in the run (mixed materials, sizes and shapes) where it actually decomposes, which does wonders for odor in wet weather.

    There's lots of different ways to maintain a coop and run, you'll ahve to figure what way you like best.
    Here's an interesting discussion 'Deep Bedding' vs 'Deep Litter'(erroneous terminology):

    And a good description and video of decomposing deep litter
  5. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    Here is my coop inside. There is a front and a back. The front is their sleeping quarters and the rear is for lounging, dining and visiting or daytime napping. The reason I built the litter so high is to cover the base of the stumps and to lower the perch height. I guess what I am doing is deep bedding and not deep litter.

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