need help with coop liter problem!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by newchickmom, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. newchickmom

    newchickmom Songster

    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    I am a little frustrated, I have only had chickens since october, so I am still new at this.

    I need to know if I am doing something wrong for the "deep liter method"

    I have had to do a complete change of the liter already and it needs it again! It is already starting to get an ammonia smell!

    My coup is 8 X 16 with 21 chickens who have had to be in almost all winter. The last change I did, I put 4 big bags of shavings down. That was about 6 weeks ago. I try to keep it stired too, about every 3 days.

    What am I doing wrong????? [​IMG]
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I went through that too. I decided to keep cleaning it instead. I think it will be easier to clean it every now and then, than to clean it once in the end. I dont have any other idea and i could not do that to my birds. It cant be healthy.
  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Try adding a bag of shavings to what you already have down, that should cut the smell.
  4. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia

    I'm no expert, I got my chickens Jan 8th... But when I initially put my litter in, I only put in about half of what I got. I stir it everyday, under the roost anyway, but try to give it a stir everywhere. If any water gets spilled, I remove the litter from that spot and let it dry out. Then, if it starts looking a little funky, I add fresh litter on top. I think that's the key for me. Mine is bone dry and doesn't smell at all.
  5. Do you have a droppings board? And Stall Dry is supposed to be great to use.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    As others have said, you need to *add new litter* periodically; plus, a droppings board helps (cleaned daily with poo removed from coop).

    I wonder though whether there may also be ventilation issues. How much ventilation do you have, and do you have humidity/condensation type issues as well as smell?

  7. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    In our coop I made a long wood frame box that is covered with 2x4 wire fencing.I have the roosts going over the top.The box is against the wall with hinges so I can swing it up off the floor to clean under and this way most of of the manure is fenced in so they can't pick though it.As it builds up I sprinkle lime and pine shavings on top and add some to the floor every week or two this will keep the smell away.I also have one window open on the SE side of the coop.I don't really clean it out til spring,Then it goes on the compose pile. will
  8. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    It sounds like you may need better ventilation. I found that placing newspaper under the roost and removing it every morning helps keep your coop smelling cleaner and makes me more comfortable. I do compost and we are allowed to burn here, so disposal is no problem. Ventilation is important in the overall health of you birds. Make sure you have a vent in the coop for fresh air to circulate.
  9. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I agree that you may need better ventilation. I keep my litter at the minimum about 8 inches deep to start. Every time I turn it over I add a new layer of shavings. They will scratch through it and wear it out to nothing but dust. Then I have to add more shavings. My barn is currently over 9 months deep in litter and show no signs of wear and tear. I keep the area under the roosts clean and can't foresee needing to clean the entire barn out any time in the next 6 months. I also put out a sprinkling of DE and sometimes dust with sevin just in case.
  10. newchickmom

    newchickmom Songster

    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Sounds like Im doing it all wrong. I will try adding new litter to the old and see if that helps. I was trying not to use a dropping pit so the ladys would have a little more floor space, but I guess that was a bad idea. [​IMG]
    I also may have a ventilation problem. The only vent I have right now is the small space at the top of the outer door. Had to close off the other opening when we had all the rain, it was raining in. I have been trying to leave the outer door open when the weather is nice. (the inner door is just a frame with poultry wire, basicly just a screen door)
    Some kind of temporary solution would be good! I will be doing some remodeling when the weather starts to warm up. The coop is just an old barn style shed the previous owners converted. There is no space to add vents at roof line.

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