Smelly Chickens


10 Years
Oct 5, 2009

We have had 3 hens for about 3 months now and we are having problems with the smell. The chicken poo is removed on a daily basis. We use soil in the chicken coop which is changed on a weekly basis. The nest box has straw in it with wood shavings in the roosting area. All chicken droppings are removed daily. They also have quite a large run during the day but the smell of ammonia is very strong and we are afraid that the neighbours may complain. I would welcome any advice on this matter.

Thanks in anticipation of your replies
It's the dirt on the flooring - you can remove the poo but the liquid part of the poo gets into the dirt and it stinks it up.

Try using wood shavings on the floor of the coop, instead of dirt, and maybe sand in the run (dries out faster, is easier to rake it around and stir the wetness to the top so it can dry out).

the ammonia smell means that ammonia is being trapped in there, and it will cause respiratory problems with your chickens, too.

good luck

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Does the smell seem to be coming from your coop? Better ventilation could help that, along with the other suggestion to change the bedding in the coop.

The other thing to consider is your feed. I noticed when I switched feeds the chicken smell disappeared.
Do you have a poop board under their night roost? I take mine out every morning, give it a hose down, leave it to air, then put it back in the late afternoon. Keeps 90% of the poop out of the coop.
Using some Stall-Dri or DE mixed in with shavings in the coop and run area will also help to alleviate the odor.
You might check out these directions for deep litter method,

And as a thumbs up for d.e., i have 27 chicks in an outdoor brooder that is starting to get too small for them. At first i just had pine shavings in there for bedding, and it smelled SO bad - that ammonia smell you were talking about.

Yesterday, i cleaned it out and added d.e. to the shavings like with the deep litter method. And this morning, after 27 growing chicks pooped in it all night, it smells GOOD. I have never had anything chicken related smell GOOD.

I would think that it would be impossible to keep that ammonia smell down with soil. It just has no chance whatsoever to dry out.
I agree, the soil is likely at least part of the problem.

Generally you get stink indoors from either a) insufficient ventilation or b) too much moisture for even a totally open coop to dissipate; you get stink *outdoors* from too much moisture.

For indoors problems see my ventilation page and/or fix leaks; for outdoors see my fixing a muddy run page
(links in .sig below)

Good luck, have fun,

I agree with the other posts. I think it's the soil too. Definately good ventilation is a must.
Thanks for all your replies - I am going to give the deep litter method a go and definitely get rid of the soil.

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