Some info for newibes after my first summer.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by flyin-lowe, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    I built my first coop this past spring. Like most, I spent a lot of time reading about deep litter, poop boards, cleaning, etc. Here is what I did and it worked out great, my thoughts are that this might help someone make a decision in the future.

    My coop is 6'x8' and has a run that is 24'x8' and it houses 9 hens.

    The first day I brought my 9 pullets home I threw in on "bag" of the pine shavings from rural king. The one bag once opened up was enough shavings to get several inches over the entire floor. My floor is plywood painted with the rubber roof coating. After about the first three weeks I would rake up some lawn clippings and or dried leaves from my yard and toss a trash bag full in. The hens loved digging through the lawn scraps and this helped stir up the layer of pine shavings. I continued this all summer, some times I would throw a little straw in there but 95% of the time it was grass and or leaves. I would also from time to time throw a handful of scratch in there to get them to stir it up a bit.

    I did this from February until this past weekend. By this time the litter was 10-12" deep and the bottom "layer" was broken down very nicely. Some of the more recent stuff I added obviously was still in tact. I tilled my garden under and then spread everything onto it and will let it sit there this winter.

    I started with a new fresh layer of pine shavings and a trash bag of leaves. My plan is to do the exact same thing over the winter and then this spring till it into my garden and then it will be ready to plant. ( I am new to gardening and know nothing about composting so maybe this might not be the best idea but the stuff I shoveled out this weekend looked like it would be good for the garden)

    It literally cost me less then $10.00 for the two bags of shavings and about 10 minutes time every two weeks to rake a bag of clippings/leaves up.

    I knew going into this hobby once the "new" wore off I would not be the type of person to go out an clean poop boards, or clean manure out of sand/litter daily so I wanted a more hands off method.

    The only concern I had was about two days in I noticed a really strong smell from the coop. After a couple days it passed. I think it was just taking some time for the things inside the coop to start "working". I am not going to lie and say there is "zero" smell to the coop because there is a slight odor if you go inside. You can't smell anything outside and even the smells inside are not strong at all, obviously you can tell there are chickens in there. I have had more then one person check out my coop and ask "how often do you clean it." Up until now my answer has always been "I never have cleaned it" and most are shocked, thinking that it should stink to high heavens. I don't think there is anyway to house 9 animals and have absolutely zero smells.

    As for my run I left it alone until it got down to bare dirt/mud. I then bought a bail of straw for $5.00 and spread it in there. One bale was enough to cover the entire run. After that, the same thing. Once it started to wear back down to dirt I would throw in a couple bags of lawn clippings. I didn't add as much stuff to the run as I did the coop. Just enough to cover the dirt. And I wouldn't re fill it back until it go back to dirt again, so I didn't have a bunch of compost material to clean out of there.

    If you are up in the air about what to do in a new coop, I am glad I went this route. If you don't have a garden or need for the "compost" I am sure there is somebody real close by that would use it, maybe even buy it if you have enough. I can't imagine having a system any cheaper or easier to take care of, and it is not a stinking mess and the chickens are happy and healthy.
    1 person likes this.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    ( I am new to gardening and know nothing about composting so maybe this might not be the best idea but the stuff I shoveled out this weekend looked like it would be good for the garden)

    I don't believe a word of it.. I think you are a PRO. [​IMG]
    Expect GREAT RESULTS in your garden this coming spring. [​IMG]

    You did everything JUST GREAT. On the subject of smell. Of course there will be a mild odor in your coop. In my run I place ALL my grass clipping all summer long. Run smell GOOD and FRESH. My chickens enjoy scratching thru it. It just disappears in due time just like the straw in your run. The grass keeps chickens feet clean and dry.
    Have you ever been in an elevator. (type to take people to higher floors). You can smell the others around you. Most take baths. [​IMG]
    Only concern about smell would be if there was a hint of ammonia. That would mean insufficient ventilation.
    When I get my chicken out of the coop, of course I can smell that chickens live here. There is no odor when slightly away and so not a problem for this CITY SLICKER with neighbors complaining.
    On the subject of being a GOOD NEIGHBOR. All summer long I keep a few of these around. I think I clean out the neighborhood. Seems I catch about 5,000 every 2 weeks.
  3. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    I don't have issues with flies, I figured I would but so far so good. At one point I had some ants getting into my nest box. I found where they were coming in at and put some 7 dust around the exterior of the coop where they were coming in at and it stopped them.

    I feel I have plenty of ventilation which obviously helps. The front of my coop has 2 canopy windows that are about 18" by 18". The opposite wall has two sliding windows that are 12"x12" The "eaves" along each 8 foot wall are open. Plus along the roof I stopped the metal short at the peak so the peak is open about 8 inches from one end to the next. There is a ridge cap covering that opening.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  4. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    Excellent info. You proved that if you do your homework and take in all the advice on BYC, even a novice can have a great outcome with their first coop. Congratulations!

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