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Suggestions for best litter/maintenance method for my little coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dorte, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Dorte

    Dorte Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    I have a small coop, roughly 3.5x6 feet, currently it has 3 chicks in there. I would like to make it as low maintenance as possible, especially since we are leaving for 4 weeks and I don't want to ask sitters to do more cleaning that needed. Still I don't want stink issue or heath problems for my girls either, of course.

    The coop is not designed all that well, to be honest (I bought it on CL, only made small adjustments to it). It has two roosts in one end. Underneath is a big metal pan (3.5x3.5) with a hardware cloth net over it. Most poop falls though the net, and the idea is to take the whole pan out for cleaning. Honestly I don't like it much. It is heavy to pull out, has poop all over it, and the hardware cloth does not seem to be too nice for my girls to walk on. The remaining 1.5x3.5 area of the coop is very hard to get to, I have to reach though the pop door or the nesting boxes to get to it. Right now I am actually feeding them in the nesting area just because it is the best accessible area. I will design something different when we get back from our trip.

    Right now I clean the coop about one a week. I take the metal pan out and empty it. Then I take the shavings from the rest of the coop, clean out the worst poop and through the rest of the shavings on top of the netting over the pan. The chickens scratch it so it forms a layer on the pan so the poop sticks less (and perhaps smell less?). Then I put a couple of inches new shavings in the small area. I seem to be composting a lot of good shavings this way...

    I am looking for ideas BOTH how to cut down maintenance short term AND how to modify the coop to be more practical long term

    Thank you [​IMG]

    I have tried to take a photo of the system:
    I think I last cleaned it out Saturday or Sunday and the picture is taken today Thursday.

    This is the out side (before I modified it)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Good pics - My 'little coop' has no bottom at all. Just chicken wire. The poop falls through to the ground & I move it 1x per week leaving the droppings as fertilizer. There aren't enough to cause an issue & they are all gone after the first rain.

    Doesn't look like you can move yours.

    There are a couple of mods you can make though that may help.

    First - replace the hardware cloth with that of a larger opening - or even chicken wire. The chickens won't notice believe me. that way more droppings get through to the pan.

    Second - though you have a number of openings for access - you don't have anything large enough to get into the side of the coop with the shavings. I would put a door on the back - or cut a large door in the front that has the smaller pop door in it. The larger opening will allow you to get in with a rake. Then just rake out the dirt into a wheel barrow & off you go.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Dorte

    Dorte Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    I considered cutting a hole in the bottom of the coop to do what you are suggesting, but I have two concerns about it
    1) Although we don't really have winters here, it seems like a lot of opening to have. In summer that would definitely be a plus though.
    2) I prefer my girls to have shavings rather than to walk around on wire. Not sure what the girl prefer, it looks like they poop more in the netted area, or perhaps it is just more visible (they don't roost yet, they sleep in the nesting area (another thing I need to fix). Anyone have experience with what chickens prefer?

    I KNOW the coop is horrible for access. Probably shouldn't have bought it, but I wanted chickens so bad... The only place I can make a door big enough for access is in the front, the coop is only a couple of feet tall in the back. When I got it the roof was nailed to the top, there was no way to get into the coop. I ripped that off intending to put hinges on it so I could at least get to the whole coop (and to do the changes I wanted to do), but it is a big 4x6 OSB board with asphalt shingles on it, it is HEAVY. Right now it just lies on top, but I can lift it off (with help) to get into the coop from above. Far from ideal, but better than totally closed.
  4. Dorte

    Dorte Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    Is it possible to do some a deep litter method in a coop like this? Perhaps if I take out the tray?
  5. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I have a small coop as well. I don't have a tray, just a poop board under the roost that I dump every few days. I have a good layer of pine shavings on the floor and if the poop starts to build up in an area, I dump some new shavings on top of that area. I'd been cleaning out the whole thing every month, but really, it doesn't stink even at that point and I feel that I'm wasting a lot of dry shavings. You might have more luck getting rid of the screen and just using a poop board. Good luck! [​IMG]

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