(really) stinky winter coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by buck-buck, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. buck-buck

    buck-buck Out Of The Brooder

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    I live in Wisconsin, have 11 birds (Buffs & Barred Rock), and a coop about 4 x 14 with an enclosed run that's 8 x 14. We're getting a lot of snow this winter so the girls aren't going into their run much. For easy cleaning, I built the coop with dairy board walls & floor and use pine bedding that I changed in late October and added to in early December. This morning I went out to get the eggs (BTW it's about zero) and I don't know if its the contrast between the crisp winter air or something else but man, I was taken back by an incredibly nasty stench when I opened the coop. Short of cleaning the entire coop, or opening up all the windows (neither of which are practical in the dead of winter). Does anyone have any ideas on how to 'freshen things up'? I read someone feeds their birds garlic but I also read that onions and garlic can flavor the eggs. Any ideas?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Is it a manure smell or an ammonia smell?
    I know it is counterintuitive but ventilation is even more important in winter than summer.
    I would open up the windows and muck out the worst of the manure and put down a fresh bedding layer over everything.

    I know you've had some nasty weather. We were 6 last night with major wind chills. My coops have huge openings on both east and west walls (at least 1/3 of the wall) with the breeze blowing right through. No dead or sick birds and no nasty odors.
     
  3. TripleKFarm

    TripleKFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    To make it super easy and simple is sprinkle or throw hand fulls of scratch down on the bedding-girls will scratch around the bedding to get all the morsels. they turn it for you-no work needed. then every so often add fresh bedding. I don't completely clean my coop out till hot weather. the deep litter method gives off its own heat source...helps to keep it toasty warm.

    I would defiantly get some ventilation happening in there too...the ammonia and manure will get too toxic in there and can get your birds sick. mainly just keep the majority of bedding in there...throw down some food to let them turn the bedding. add new when the old gets worn out. the new bedding will be a treat for them to throw all over the place..it helps to keep them from getting bored. bored chickens will eat eggs and pluck feathers..good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  4. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably a combination of things would help. Make sure there's ventilation going on in there by at least opening some windows during the day. It also sounds like you need to add shavings to the litter that's already there. I'd add litter, leaves, sawdust, wood chips - anything organic you can get your hands on - to what you already have. I use deep litter and add to the litter almost weekly when the girls are cooped up and not wanting to go outside. I've not had any problem with odor so far - fingers crossed!

    Hopefully those things will help with the smell. Good luck!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto on the manure smell or ammonia smell.

    I use roost boards with sand and PDZ. Sift the poops out every 2-3 days. Keeps the poop out of the bedding on the floor and the PDZ neutralizes ammonia.

    Coop still smells like poop, especially those cecals, but not ammonia. Plus I have lots of ventilation.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. buck-buck

    buck-buck Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, I wasn't expecting so many good ideas so soon! Thanks for these suggestions. I cracked the windows a bit and threw down some extra bedding, scratch and some oyster shell for good measure (since I just broke my girls from eating their eggs). Over night the smell dissipated so it worked. I didn't get the chance to try the PDZ but ( after looking it up to find out what it is) that also seems like an excellent idea. I'm going to pick some up and use that to prevent the smells from coming back. Thanks again!

    One last question, Do you think the smell (that was kind of manure-ish by the way) could have been caused because I threw a couple dinner rolls in their run the other day? They normally only eat an egg mash and a bit of scratch, vegetable scraps (and whatever they find in the yard when the weather is warmer) but I'm wondering if the bread may have given them the chicken version of the "green apple quick step" and that's why it stunk so badly.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Poop is poop and it stinks, cecal poops are the worst-especially when fresh.
    You're probably not going to totally get rid of the manure smell, tho roost boards really do help.
    Ammonia and dampness really crank up the stink factor.
     
  8. tsiecz

    tsiecz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ventilation, ventilation, ventilaton....... Thats the key. I live in WNY it has cold winters and the girls dont get out much at all in the winter. My coop vents are always open, and I add pine shavings as needed. When the weather warms in the 40's ,is when i have some issues as far as smell. I either add more bedding or clean the coop.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]

    Talk about ventilation. This is how I build them - with about 1/4 of bot east and west walls wide open.
    It gets to minus temps F here. No odors or sick birds.
     
  10. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's my winter ventilation, a open wall. I'll agree with the others, open your coop up more and increase ventilation/fresh air flow. You do that and you won't have to mess around with any PDZ.

    [​IMG]
     

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