Poop Boards~ Did we do this wrong?

Wise Woman

Crowing
Apr 12, 2011
875
724
266
My Cottage
Three years ago when we moved to our current home, we set up a coop in a shed already on the property. We didn't want to damage it as some day we know it would be converted back to a shed for my husband's workshop so we worked with what was there. The day to return it to a shed is approaching and we will start working on a new coop this summer.

In my wisdom, I installed poop boards in our current coop. However, contrary to most info on here, I do not find them easy to clean. I cannot do it every day due to a chronic illness and hubby works 12 hours a day. He does the feeding and watering when I am not up to schlepping out there, but he does not have time to do poop boards each morning as he generally leaves by 5 am.

So I aim for once a week and it is so gross seeing all that poop there, that I can barely keep my breakfast down while doing it. they all roost in the exact same spots each night and so it piles up into little mountains of poop! I was never chicken poop squeamish until we installed these poop boards.

We used dog crate pans to put the sweet PDZ in and it is not easy as each board needs to be pulled out from under the roost and set onto of the roost in order for me to clean it. They are kind of heavy for me and the whole process is time consuming. Even if I did it every day, I would still have to pull the pans out one by one, clean them, then put them back. Perhaps it is a bad design? I think maybe we put them too close to the roosts. In other pictures it seems the poop boards are well below the roosts. We will be re-using the ladder in the picture below and I am wondering how far below I should install the poop board. Or should I just make new roosts out of 2 x 4s and put the ladder in their run for fun?

I need to get this right in the new coop so I can care for the chickens on my own. It will give me some purpose in life and a reason to get up and get dressed, especially on bad days. We are building the coop right off the patio so it is only a few steps away for me and I want to make it work as well as possible. Hubby can help once in a while for really big jobs like spring cleaning the coop, but I want to do the daily chores all on my own. I like the idea of cleaning the poop out each day, but there has to be an easier way so I can get to it before it all piles up. Here is a picture of what we have now. Help!



We will be building the new coop from scratch, so I can have it any way I want. If they were easier to clean out, I could do it each day before it piles up into mountains. I need to get this right, otherwise, I will have to go back to the deep liter method as this is just too difficult and gross. Thanks for any suggestions.
 

TalkALittle

Songster
5 Years
Dec 15, 2014
1,661
725
191
Massachusetts
It does look as though your trays are quite close to the roosts. I do imagine that unless cleaned each day you get too much buildup to slide them out cleanly. I have poop boards and am quite pleased with them. My roost is approximately 8-10 inches above my poop boards. Actually, "boards" isn't the right word. My boards are frames made from 2x4s with plywood bottoms. They are capable of holding a fair amount of sand/PDZ mixture though I only have an inch or so in there. I use a kitty litter scoop to clean it but there is enough clearance between the roost and board that I can skip a day or two of cleaning without the poop piles getting close to the roosts.

I've often thought that if I didn't wanted to sift sand that I could quite easily keep the tray but switch to shavings. If I did so, I could just sprinkle a fresh layer of shavings over each day's poop, doing a full clean out of the tray each week. Cleaning out an elevated tray at waist level would be much easier for me than cleaning an area of the coop floor.

I think your problem lies in your design. It would seem that daily tray cleaning is necessary to make your current design work. I think if you make deeper trays and place the roost a bit higher above them, you will be able to have the benefit of being able to easily remove poop daily with the flexibility of going a few days between cleaning if you have to.
 

yyz0yyz0

Songster
8 Years
May 2, 2012
616
113
184
Since you will be starting from scratch with the new build, I suggest you look into making the poop trays slide out via an external door.

You could buy some drawer slides and turn the poop trays into drawers that are accessed from the outside of the coop. This way you can walk up to the coop, pull out a poop tray, clean it and slide it back in. You can make it a height that is comfortable for you to work on.

I love my poop boards, I only clean them once a week and feel it's the best thing I did. I do have a problem that my roosts/poop boards are a bit high, so I'm cleaning them at eye level but that's my design flaw. I would build everything lower in my next coop, funny part is the reason they are eye height to me is I built my coop so I could move a wheelbarrow up to it and it would fit just under the edge of the coop floor so I could just push the wood chips into the wheelbarrow. Why it's the funny part is because I have two year old chips in the coop and they are still as dry and odor free as when they were new. Being able to load the wheelbarrow easily doesn't matter as much if you only going to load it once every 2-3years, but the poop boards I have to access at least weekly. DOH!
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
I'd scrap the crap board. Maybe they would be a somewhat good thing to have, if you got 5 birds, or less. But if you have a dozen or more, you HAVE to get out there and scrape that crappy board off daily. Because yes, the same birds usually roost in the same places, and can put out a small mountain of crap in a few days. I've never seen the attraction to these crappy boards. I know I wouldn't want to scrape that mess every other day or so. I have 20 chickens, sometimes more, sometimes a little less. I have what would be called a modified version of the deep litter method. I don't have a dirt floor, so it can't be considered a true D/L coop. I clean my coop out once a year. I scoop everything out with an old coal shovel, easy. In between, I'll dump a bag of pine shavings in there as needed. The chickens keep the shavings turned over for the most part. My coop does not smell, it's easy to maintain. I don't see where a crap/poop board could ever make it easier, than what I'm doing now.
 

yellowchicks

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 27, 2014
339
70
98
NJ
My Coop
My Coop
The poop boards really make daily cleaning much easier. I just pick up the trays, dump all the poop into the compost bin, done!

Some people use sand, some people use sweet PDZ, some use DE on the poop board to help absorb the odor and moisture, but you will still need to sieve the poop out. The particular material I used for making the poop boards is called FRP Wall Board. No additional bedding mixture needed, poop just slide off the smooth side of the plastic board, makes cleaning a cinch. This hard plastic is a big difficult to cut and bend the edges, but it is much lighter than plywood, very easy to handle if you can make them into smaller trays.

Also, placing the poop board lower will preventing splashing of poop back on to the chickens. It will also give you more capacity, so there is no need to clean as often if you don't want to....bad weather, cold winter, or on vacation, etc.

Originally, we had designed a flip down door so the bedding draws below the poop boards can slide out for cleaning. With these poop boards, I hardly ever need to replace the pine shaving bedding or remove the draws because the bedding stay clean inside the coop.

 

Wise Woman

Crowing
Apr 12, 2011
875
724
266
My Cottage
I'd scrap the crap board. Maybe they would be a somewhat good thing to have, if you got 5 birds, or less. But if you have a dozen or more, you HAVE to get out there and scrape that crappy board off daily. Because yes, the same birds usually roost in the same places, and can put out a small mountain of crap in a few days. I've never seen the attraction to these crappy boards. I know I wouldn't want to scrape that mess every other day or so. I have 20 chickens, sometimes more, sometimes a little less. I have what would be called a modified version of the deep litter method. I don't have a dirt floor, so it can't be considered a true D/L coop. I clean my coop out once a year. I scoop everything out with an old coal shovel, easy. In between, I'll dump a bag of pine shavings in there as needed. The chickens keep the shavings turned over for the most part. My coop does not smell, it's easy to maintain. I don't see where a crap/poop board could ever make it easier, than what I'm doing now.
JackE, this is so good to hear. All my other coops had pine shavings over a cement floor, which we cleaned out in the spring and fall. We raked them out, put the old litter in the run, scrubbed out the coop, let it dry and put in new littler. In between, we would just rake it up a bit and add fresh shavings when necessary. This worked well. But, when we moved, I had been reading about poop boards and sand in the coop and how great and easy it was and I thought I would go for that. However, it seems to be just the opposite of what I thought it would be. Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
JackE, this is so good to hear. All my other coops had pine shavings over a cement floor, which we cleaned out in the spring and fall. We raked them out, put the old litter in the run, scrubbed out the coop, let it dry and put in new littler. In between, we would just rake it up a bit and add fresh shavings when necessary. This worked well. But, when we moved, I had been reading about poop boards and sand in the coop and how great and easy it was and I thought I would go for that. However, it seems to be just the opposite of what I thought it would be. Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Yeah, I'm doing what you used to do (Except for the scrubbing), and taking care of my coop is E....Z. Besides, if I was to put a poop board in my coop (Which I never would), it would have to go under a 6X8' roost area. Imagine scrapping that off every day or so, NO thanks.
 

TalkALittle

Songster
5 Years
Dec 15, 2014
1,661
725
191
Massachusetts
One advantage to having a poop board that I clean daily is that it lets me better monitor my birds health. If someone has bloody stool or diarrhea I know it immediately. It was wet poop on the board that clued me in to a coccidiosis outbreak. I wouldn't have noticed that something was wrong until my birds had gotten much sicker and shown more serious symptoms had they just been pooping directly on the floor under the roost.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,037
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
For someone who is not able to do daily, or at least multiple times per week, cleaning I would suggest the DLM (or modified DLM) approach as this is going to be better for both keeper and birds.
 

ChickenMammX4

Songster
Mar 17, 2015
1,044
243
161
SW Ohio
We added a poopboard when we built our coop. For me it has worked out great. Takes me maybe 5 min. a day to clean. It's 48" off the floor (no bending), the roost is about 12" above. It's lined with PDZ and I use a mesh paper tray (like you use in a office), thanks to someone on this forum :) to sift the poop up and dump into a bucket then throw on the compost pile. The PDZ is several inches deep and absorbs any moisture and it's pretty dry by the time I pick up in the morning. It doesn't even have an odor. I've skipped a day here and there but still an easy clean up since all the poop is in one area right under the roost.

I have 6 chickens.


700
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom