Matted, frozen wood chips - too much moisture in the coop?

downeastthunderfarm

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 24, 2011
67
6
41
Maine
I have this ongoing discussion with my husband about the venting and the moisture level in the coop. We do have some small vents built into the coop, but I think we need a bigger one. He tells me I'm too worried about it - the coop is fine.

We're trying the deep layer method of wood chips in the coop the winter (our first year with chickens). The problem is, the chips become a frozen mass. I try to fluff it up each day, but can only do so when the temps are above freezing.

So my question... Is this mass of frozen wood chips a sign of too much moisture in the coop? Or is it normal. We have snow on the ground and it's fairly humid outside anyway. Still, I can't help but feel that I'm not doing the girls justice here.

Feedback would be appreciated! Many thanks.
 

Wyogirl

Songster
9 Years
Apr 5, 2010
821
5
141
Cody, WY
My DH and I have the same issues LOL. I ended up putting in 2 vents this fall but I don't think it's nearly enough as my wood chips did freeze. They aren't as bad lately, but I do try to clean under the roost once a week!
Good luck
Ayda
 

JackE

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
758
301
North Eastern Md.
I checked out your coop. You have 17 chickens in a 4X8' space, that's kind of tight, it's recommended you have 4 square ft per bird inside the coop. Are you seeing a lot of frost on the inside walls too? What you have is a combination of too many chickens per square foot and no where near enough ventilation. You really need to increase fresh air flow into your coop, by opening some windows or something. The bedding should not be a frozen mass.
Jack
 

jnjross

Songster
12 Years
Apr 3, 2008
1,112
5
184
edwards, ms
are the nest getting wet also? what waterers are you using? check for leaks from snow melt around windows and in the nest box, and for waterer spillage or leaks. if you can't resolve quickly i'd abandon deep litter before it damages the floor
 

downeastthunderfarm

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 24, 2011
67
6
41
Maine
Thank you all for your replies. You've confirmed what I have suspected.

The girls spend all day outdoors except when it's raining or snowing. The coop isn't leaky and the waterer doesn't seem to be unduly messy. It doesn't have that ammonia smell. I do notice, now that the weather is cold, that the window get some condensation on them when the sun hits.

I've been reading your posts to my husband along with excerpts from my Storey's Raising Chickens. He's so exasperated with me that he's finally said "Whatever you want, Sweetie." I'm not sure that's what he's thinking, but by the end of the weekend I think I'll have my additional ventilation. Once that's done I'm going to clean out and start with fresh litter.

Thanks!
 
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karlamaria

Songster
8 Years
Jan 30, 2011
2,339
65
246
Western montana
To much moisture means frozen combs also. And mad there is nothing like a moisture ridden cold anything. I suggest you put a lamp in there until the vents go in. Your chickens can and do get sick with the cold wet coops they are in.
 

Ole rooster

Songster
8 Years
Jun 25, 2011
2,083
43
196
Milner, Georgia
Amen.........if said that get it while you can. And more if you have the courage to squeeze it in.
smile.png
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,169
27,886
1,077
St. Louis, MO
IMO, a coop is only for predator protection and is counter to what is good for the birds. Bad air is about the best way to make birds sick. I shoot for 1 sq. ft. ventilation per bird. A couple little vents doesn't cut it. If that means taking an entire wall out, so be it.
 
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