Is the coop dirty or am i just driving myself crazy???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickencoop789, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2012
    New Jersey
    whenever there is poop (even just a little) in the coop or I start to smell some chicken, I totally freak out because I think its dirty and im a bad chicken owner because my girls aren't clean. I started thinking about this and now im wondering how clean everyone elses coops are. What are some of your warning signs that you need to clean the coop???
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas

    I’m out in the country so even if they did smell some it wouldn’t be a big deal, but in an urban or suburban setting, it is a big deal. You don’t want the neighbors mad at you. Smell is usually caused by the poop and/or bedding being wet, and a wet coop is a potentially dangerous coop from a disease perspective. That’s another reason to not have a coop that smells.

    There are all kinds of different coops and runs with different bedding materials in different climates. We are all going to have our own management techniques to handle the problems that come up. I have a large walk-in coop with a dirt floor with pine shavings as bedding. I use a droppings board to collect the concentration if poop under the roosts. I generally scrape that droppings board every two to three weeks, depending on smell or if someone is coming over than might want to see the chickens. That pure poop goes in the compost.

    The last time I cleaned out the coop floor I went four years. I didn’t need to do it then but I wanted that stuff on my garden.

    Just like many other animals, chickens eat each other’s poop. That’s how they share probiotics and develop flock immunities. I don’t try to keep their environment pristine. I want them exposed to the world so they can develop strong immune systems.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Shalom Farm

    Shalom Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2013
    I usually clean the coop 1-2 times a week, including the holding run they are in before they go out. For me, it is the smell. My coop isn't the best though and I want to replace it. I can't walk into it and its a little hard to clean. The roost poo goes everywhere except in the nesting box part. The roof on it was built incorrectly, and so it gets wet. That is 90% of the issue. I am hoping to build my own coop cheap but right and just keep that one around for emergencies. Maybe meat birds.

    I am in a warm climate though, which intensifies odor. I mix my shavings with diatamous earth and baking soda to help prevent mites and odor. As well as protect the wooden floor a little more than just shavings from the poo.

    That begin said though, if I know we are in for bad weather the roosting part (which stays dry) is their safe haven. I let it get dirty until the weather passes, because I know they are staying there for a long time and it will be damp in other parts-lending worse odor and wasted bedded. So I clean it out and let the wet parts get dry before bedding fresh again... Really want to do away with this coop xD.
  4. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    Smell tells me that I need to take action but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to "clean" the coop.

    I do deep litter in my coop. If I smell chicken odor, that tells me I need to add either pine shavings or leaves to the litter. I'll rake any large deposits of poo - such as from under the roosts - into the deep litter and then top it off with fresh pine shavings or leaves. That takes care of any smell.

    The deep litter continues to break down and the odor is neutralized. I feed my hens fermented feed which I think helps reduce the odor in their poo, as well.

    I will occasionally dust the rafters and such, removing cobwebs, and I do that with a shop vac. I'll wash the windows - with vinegar and water - when they get dusty as I want the sunlight to help warm the coop in the winter. But, as far as a deep cleaning of chicken litter and bedding, that occurs in the spring and that's only because I want the decomposed litter for my garden.
    1 person likes this.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm in the deep litter group. I think I added shavings in April, and my coop has no odor. I try to clean it out once a year, if it needs it or not [​IMG]

    Otherwise, I go by smell also. Keep the inside dry and things break down nicely. My girls dust bathe in the shavings in the coop, and no one walks around with clumps of poop on their feathers.

    I do notice you have to take into account how tall your coop is, though. With the deep litter, when you add shavings, your head gets closer to the rafters!
    1 person likes this.
  6. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    I have a small flock so as long as venting is good and turning it regularly, it smells little. I clean it out when it gets too thick. Going to see if it can go for 4 years. :)
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Keep in mind that people have also different sensitivities to smells, especially if you're new to chicken keeping.

    I use PDZ and sand on my roost boards and sift the solids off them every other day or so, adding a bit once in while...yep, it kinda stinks, but not an overwhelming ammonia stink as the PDZ neutralizes the ammonia and helps dry out the poops. I use pine shavings on the floor, along with PDZ that gets kicked off the boards, and stir those up when I sift the boards and add some extra every once in while. I will totally change out the shavings twice a year. Nothing covers up a fresh cecal poop stink, but the PDZ will dry those out too. I also have lots of ventilation.

    I used to chicken sit for a guy who used no bedding in the coop, just 2-3 inches of dried poop that he scraped out maybe once a year....that place would make your eyes water and forget about breathing thru your nose in there.
  8. I just clean my coop once a week

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