Putting lime in the chicken pen?


11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
Lexington, Kentucky
I have 30-40 chickens and two pekin ducks in a pen in my backyard. The pen is roughly 30x45 feet or so. They have plenty of space to move around.

Anyway, in this hot humid weather their poop is is starting to pile up and stink in the sun! I live in a suburb, so I would like to find a way to speed up the composting/decay periodically. Rain doesn't seem to help much.

Would it be safe to use lime? The chickens will be on the ground during the day still. They can't stay in their coops all day because there isn't enough space--they only go in the coops to roost at night and to lay eggs.

The pen has grassy areas and dirt patches. I would put lime mostly on the dirt, and probably some in the grass of their favorite spots. The kind of lime we have is from TSC and it is a white powder. It was the only kind TSC had. I've read conflicting things about lime being safe, or possibly burning their feet...I don't want to harm my birds! If there is a safer type of lime to use (if any kind is safe) then I can look at our local feed store...


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Opelousas, Louisiana
I have the same problem. Can't wait to hear what others have to say. I am also concerned about the lime harming my chickens. Is lime safe for them?


Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
Don't hold me to this- but I read the other day that it has to be agricultural lime, not hydrated lime.

I suggest more research, it might even pop up in the search here.

I feel your pain, my runs are horrible right now. I have been scraping them daily, and they still smell funky.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
We use a powder lime and it helps with the smell and the flies. All chickens are doing just fine. We have had so much rain here in Missouri that everything is muddy and icky. So the lime helps a bunch.

jojo@rolling acres farm

10 Years
May 15, 2009
Hi guys,

I have chickens, geese, goats & ponies. I've used the Lime from TSC for about 5 years in my stalls and pens with no problem whatsoever. It's called - barn lime - you can also find it at Bomgaars farm stores. It makes a huge difference - in the way the area that you "treat" smells... It should help immediately.

My chickens "scratch" in my pony and goat stalls - where I naturally use a little more of the Lime. No problems...ever! Hope this helps!


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
It is also my understanding that agricultural and not hydrated lime is safe. There is a pelleted lime that I use in my coop, that I bought from the local farmers' feed and supply store. It is a type of agricultural lime. Yes, you have to be careful to use agricultural. Here, the pelleted costs maybe 50 cents a bag more than plain agricultural, but it is so much less dusty. So I toss a couple of cups around if I smell ammonia or mustiness, and the smell is gone right away. Lots cheaper than DE.

I still use DE, for mite/lice control and such. But just for odors, to dry out the poop and shavings, control flies, etc., lime is much cheaper.

My new coop is pretty big, maybe 10'x18', and I am still working on the first $6, 40 lb. bag of lime I bought earlier this year. I use pine shavings, but there is not a thick layer of them. It is a dirt floor and tends to stay a bit wet if it rains a lot, from seepage from surrounding soil.

I don't know how well lime would work in pens or runs. I have a 75'x75' yard. But this might help you:

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11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
Lexington, Kentucky
I guess my problem is that I don't know what kind of lime I have! I will go look at what the bag says on it in the morning. I will also ask at the local feed store when I go in to buy feed on Tuesday.

Since my pen is just a section of my yard fenced off I can't really fill the entire thing with sand...it's way too huge! But I will say when I only had 6 chickens in a 8 foot long run I did fill that with sand and it worked great. I could rake the poop out regularly and easily.

I also use DE in their feed and in the coops, but I'm afraid to sprinkle it all over the yard because I don't want to kill beneficial insects. Plus I know my birds love to forage for bugs, they would miss out on an essential part of their diet.

I'm glad lime seems to work great--I just have to be sure I get the correct kind! JoJo--does your bag of lime actually say barn lime on it? The kind I got from TSC is in a brown bag with green writing on it.


10 Years
May 25, 2009
Southwestern, In
Just make sure it's ag lime. I just bought a 50# bag @ rural king for about 3 dollars... its safe to use around you chickens. It's more gray in color..

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