Roost and poop pits: your input needed, please!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ninabeast, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our very first babies finally arrived yesterday afternoon and are safely ensconced in their brooder: 3 BR, 3 BO, 3LB, 3 PR. We are in heaven. Plans for the coop are well underway.

    Questions for all you chicken experts:

    1. Does one REALLY need to have the roosts 18" out from the coop wall? That seems an awfully great distance to us given the size of the non-giant adult hens. How far out from the coop walls are YOUR roosts?

    2. We would like to construct pits under the roosts for poop. What should the depth and height of the pits be? 2 feet deep? 3 feet deep? We'd ideally like to deep litter method and fully clean the coop twice a year.

    3. I know the poop pits need to be covered with chicken wire. How far above the top of the pop pits do the roosts need to be? Is there a minimum distance?

    Many thanks in advance. I am so glad I found this forum!
     
  2. macadam8157

    macadam8157 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:#3 answer- I read in a book with a plan for one 2' i dont know if thats standard or what though!
     
  3. knjinnm

    knjinnm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Instead of poop pits, which are good place for mice and rats to nest, use poop hammocks. Eighteen inch roost placemen is fine for LF, also put your roosts above nest boxes to ensure birds don't roost on boxes.
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, you could try a roost closer to the wall, say 12 or 16 inches. Just be aware that you might decide you want to move it if the "backsplash" factor against the wall gets to be too much.

    About the poo pit. Have you ever seen (and smelled) one? If not, I'd recommend that if at all possible, you go and see an actual poo pit just to make sure you're happy with the way they work. Personally, a growing pile of droppings sitting inside the coop and attracting flies week after week after week is just not what I want in my coop. I use poop trays (repurposed plastic boot trays) that I dump out every morning. The droppings compost along with other yard materials in a closed composter in back of the coop. The inside of the coop stays much more pleasant that way, and I can control the flies and the odor much better inside the composter.

    But it certainly is a matter of personal preference. Many people wouldn't want to be bothered with cleaning out trays every morning, and find droppings pits just what they like.
     
  5. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maine
    we tried deep litter the first year we had chickens....so many flies [​IMG] even with adding extra stuff to cover etc...we dont' do it that way anymore
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    You can put your roost as little as 12-14" from the wall if you really WANT (tho chickens don't like it when they are brushing up against it when they roost), but the closer the wall is to the roost, the more you get those stinky squirty cecal poos plastered all over the wall. And they are pretty hard to clean off, even from a well painted wall. So a lot of people try to keep the roost well clear of the wall to minimize the amount of cecal poo graffiti that goes on LOL

    The problem with a wire-covered droppings pit is that you lose so much floor area. If you use plain ol' deep litter you simply deal with under-the-roost poo by stirring it into the bedding periodically, and don't lose floorspace. Or (my preference) put a droppings board under the roost and clean it every day or week or whatever works best for you -- mine takes LITERALLY 10 seconds or less to clean, and it removes almost half the daily poo input from the coop in one fell swoop.

    I would suggest not getting attached to romantic descriptions you may have read about "the" deep litter method, there is no "the", there are a whole lot of different ways of doing that general sort of thing, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and only SOME will work in any one person's situation. If you design for flexibility, then you can experiment with different approaches to coop management and work out a "custom" system that works best for you. Whereas a droppings pit locks you into one particular way that you may or may not be happy with, and the *chickens* are unlikely to be maximally-happy with unless your coop is extra-roomy and very very well ventilated.

    JMHO, goo dluck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. knjinnm

    knjinnm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You don't mention where you live so consider relative humidity in your area as well.
    Another consideration when using a wired covered pit is scrapping the build up on the wire. Not every poop will pass through the wire and even if it does it will leave some residue which will sooner or later increase in size.
    Poop boards work but my main objection is the poop dust created when scraping the boards, wear a good quality tight fitting mask if you decide to go that route.
     
  8. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These are all excellent ideas. I had no idea there was a "backsplash" issue. SO glamourous!
     
  9. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I prefer the poop hammock method, after trying deep litter ( extremely dry climate and the flies were still overwhelming!) and poop boards (didn't have the time to properly scrape them every day. So I have a blue tarp under the roosts, throw straw or shavings in there daily to absorb the moisture, undo one end of the tarp and empty into a 5-gallon bucket twice per week (22 chickens).
     
  10. knjinnm

    knjinnm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Is your blue tarp on the ground or suspended?
    If it's suspended, using porous shade cloth would allow the poop to dry even faster.
     

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