Must I scoop Poop every day?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ClareScifi, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,840
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    I have 5 chickens in a coop that is 4 feet by 5 feet by 6 feet high. Three are full-sized hens, one is a Bantam hen, and one is a big rooster.

    I have been cleaning poop out every day because I read the moisture build-up from poop can contribute to the rooster getting frostbite on his large comb, combined with the moisture from their breathing.

    They nest on a shelf at night on which they poop. The poop freezes on there.

    The problem is the next several nights it is to be very cold here. 0 F, and no higher than 5 F. The stores are all out of the bales of pine shavings I was planning to put around the coop to insulate it. I do have bales around the area where they nest, but not around the whole building.

    It snowed yesterday, and the snow has formed a nice insulation around the door to the coop. If I were to go in and scoop poop, I would have to destroy this snow insulation to get inside.

    So I'm wondering how long I could go without removing the poop without subjecting them to health risks?

    I have read that the poop does add a bit of heat, but I've also read that toxic ammonia fumes could build up from it, which are hard on the chickens' respiratory systems. So I'm not sure which would be better-- scooping the poop every day, or leaving the snow insulation in place and not scooping the poop-- at least until the cold snap is over or the snow melts?

    The coop is not insulated and does have some ventilation.

    The rooster's comb is starting to look bad, like it could have the beginnings of frostbite. He is part white leghorn and has a huge comb. All thoughts will be appreciated.
     
  2. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

    651
    36
    131
    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    you can put vaseline on your chickens combs & wattles to prevent frostbite.

    I personally scoop every day,,I have a poop board under my roost with Sweet PDZ in it (it's like clumping kitty litter), so scooping is VERY easy, with 9 chickens.

    I am in CT, and while not as cold as your temps, it's been cold here , I do not have heat in my coop, but have a deep amount of litter, fluff it up daily, and one nite when I thought the chickies roost felt overly cold, I wrapped a towel around the roost..Unnecessary I'm sure, but made me feel better:)

    Hardy chickens do well in the cold, tho we may not think so, I would never put a heat lamp in a coop, to much of a chance of fire..
     
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,840
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    My rooster is a mean boy. I love him, though. But there's no way he'd ever allow me to put vaseline on his comb. He'd peck me to death. I can't hold him or anything. I raised him bv hand, and he thinks he's my boss. I'd have to wear steel gloves and eye goggles, and I'm not sure I could even do it then. He would have a fit!

    And I have to put him outside to clean the poop out of the coop. I don't have a covered run. I'm afraid he would get too cold as I was scooping the poop out of the coop, on these extra cold days, while outside waiting for me to accomplish the task? I worry about his feet getting frostbite walking in the snow.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    To catch your rooster and treat that comb...go into the coop at night, put a towel over him and wrap him up good. Apply the vaseline and your done. Spoiled rotten roosters are just like spoiled rotten kids, they end up suffering for it in the end!

    As far as whether to disturb the snow to get in and clean? If your coop has good ventilation it's not going to hurt if you miss a few days. Weeks and months of buildup is another story. In my coop, on the occasion that I know it's not going to get raked up each morning, i.e. if I'm going out town for a couple days, I spread some shavings under the roost and mix in a little DE which helps keep things dried up.
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,480
    119
    201
    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I do not scoop poop every day. I have 9 hens in a 4'X8'X5'high coop. There is a poop slide that directs poop from the roosting chickens down into a bin at the bottom that I dump about once a week. When I'm preparing to dump the bin, I scoop up large globs of poop from the floor (there aren't many since most goes in the bin) and get rid of it as well. This is my second winter with chickens and in the Colorado mountains it is quite cold in the winter (high today of about 15, low of -5). The upside is that it is very dry, so I may not have to deal with the humidity and moisture issues some of you have to deal with in other parts of the country.
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,840
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks for the info, Hummingbird Hollow. I just shut up my chickens for the night. I made the decision to leave the poop be, rather than tear down the snow insulating barrier in front of the door. I think heat is more crucial for the rooster's frostbite problem than removing the poop is. I sniffed for an ammonia smell tonight as I was shutting them up, and I couldn't smell one, so that is good. The next 2 nights are to be bitter cold, 0 F and 1 F. Brr. The chickens are staying in pretty good spirits, considering it all. The snow has added a lot of humidity to the air. Last year at this time we had a very warm winter, and the chickens were only 3 months old. If it were last year, I'd be terrified by this cold snap. Maybe my chickens are big enough to survive this, this year?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by