So much poop! How to manage?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by abbeyf, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. abbeyf

    abbeyf Out Of The Brooder

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    Having problems with my current coop design and managing the massive amount of waste my sweet chickens create. Its mostly the night time poo, great big pile under roost bar every morning. I know lots of people put trays underneath but I feel like in my case it would hinder them flying up to roost. I have been using hay, spreading a thick layer under where they go and then raking it up and into compost every day, but its not ideal, gets stuck in the wire mesh under the coop and wastes a LOT of hay. Have any better ideas?
     
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Solid bottom coops work the best, and shavings are a great idea. Some people use sand, like a cat box but wind and make it unpleasant.
     
  3. girliechicks

    girliechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I just switched from straw to pine shavings, much better. I am considerswitching to sand because of the huge amount of shavings that goes into my compost pile.
     
  4. Smith45

    Smith45 New Egg

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    I started off with sand in my coop because I'd read how great it was. I hated it.

    I built a giant kitty litter scoop out of a pitchfork and some screen to sift it out, but I always ended up mixing the poop into the sand while sifting, and had to sift the same sand multiple times to get it all. It took a solid 10 minutes of this to get the whole 8X8 coop relatively clean, each scoop was heavy, and I had to wear a dust mask which isn't comfortable in the heat.

    On top of all that it never really smelled great after the first week.

    About two months ago I switched to the deep litter method, and couldn't be happier.

    I used 3 bales of the plastic wrapped pine shavings to bring the depth up to around 6-8 inches, and added a bunch of really dried leaves I raked up along with a bit of shredded wood mulch, mixing it all together. I haven't cleaned as in taking anything out of the coop since I started and it smells as good as a coop with a bunch of chickens could possibly smell. All I do is turn everything over 4-5 times a week with a pitchfork to bury the poop and "fluff" the pile up (the birds tamp it down and I think the looser it is the better stuff will break down). I also add a couple pounds of diatomaceous earth each week and I've yet to see a mite on any of the birds. I only see flies if I've neglected to turn it over for a few days, which literally takes me about 2 minutes to do thoroughly.

    I guess in a few more months I might replace it all, but right now it seems like it could stay for a long time.

    Highly recommend giving this a try.
     
  5. abbeyf

    abbeyf Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2013
    Eastern US
    Sorry I should have mention its portable. Pvc frame fully enclosed in hardware mesh including the bottom. So the floor is basically grass. You would like the poo would just go through the holes, but it doesn't. There is a huge pile of it in the morning all stuck in the holes, impossible to rake out. Only way to get rid of it is remove chickens ams and use hose to spray the floor clean before moving to new grass.
     
  6. girliechicks

    girliechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two chicken tractors and one coop. The first tractor my husband built has the mesh bottom. It is terrible for cleaning. I keep my young chicks in there to keep them from getting pecked, but they have started laying! So this weekend we are building a run for my big chickens and we will put the babies in the other tractor that the big chickens were in. That tractor has no bottom, has wheels, and will soon have a nesting box in it. It is nice and light. I did ask my husband to cut the bottom out of that chick tractor and leave it out. The next time I put chicks in, I will just move it around the ground instead of trying to clean it!
     
  7. Lesia

    Lesia Out Of The Brooder

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    I love my plastic coop with two big trays on the bottom that slide out easily. I got 16 chickens now. I use pine shavings and if a really bad storm doesn't get inside wet it stays relatively clean for few weeks. The coop did cost me a lot of money, but its very practical in my situation.
     
  8. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    I have not used sand for a bedding.

    That being said I find wood pellets (the type you burn in pellet stoves) better than pine shavings. They are super absorbent and swell up and turn to sawdust when they come in contact with moisture. and the poop just seems to dry up and turn into dust. However in my area wood pellets are not always available.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have 63 trips around the sun so it is not my first rodeo.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my coop.

    Through the winter months my bedding froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim. Come April things started to look after themselves.

    Oh I might add I do have poop boards 3½" below my roost that I clean every 2 to 3 days (excellent for catching eggs laid through the night).

    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

    Easy peasy!.

    Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.

    Below you will get a quick look at my set up.

    There are lots of gorgeous coops on the site that make me dream of building. However this one works for me and my chickens.


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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  9. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    I clean the coop every morning and the run 2-3 times a day. I keep linoleum scraps under the roost. In the winter I'll put pine in. All the poop I scoop out goes temporary into an empty feed bag, then hubby takes that feed bag once a week to the compost pile. I don't use pine in the summer since linoleum is easier to clean. I scrub the linoleum each week to keep it clean looking. The flock will lay on the linoleum during the hot summer day. I can't free range at the moment due to coyotes killing off part of my flock. Cleaning the run 2-3 times a day is necessary.

    I personally do not like straw/hay. It's hard to manage and molds when wet.
     
  10. girliechicks

    girliechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2013
    Hokum, you're entertaining! Enjoyed that post, and will look into the wood pellets, too!
     
    1 person likes this.

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