the coop smells all of the time!!! help


9 Years
Nov 12, 2010
Baltimore, MD
I have 7 chickens in a coop with a very generous run space.
I use a mix of ceder chips and hay in the run... my big problem of which is that it doesnt last long once any moisture is around. The combination of decomposing hay and chicken poo will literally knock you out and make you gag. I change the hay regularly once every 2 weeks...which is alot of work bc the hay soaks up moisture and starts decomposing. When it rains, the hay starts smelling within a day!

While I would love to use sand in the run, we are on a hill and it would just run right out of the pen.

Right now there is no permanant solution to the hay issue but is there anything a can put down to minamize the smell???
I take it your problem is in the run and not in the coop is that right?

If you get a lot of rain your best bet is to roof part of the run to keep it from getting so wet.
I have half concrete and half dirt in my coop. I use straw under roof and let the dirt area go just raking it occasionally.

Also, aromatic cedar shouldn't be used with chickens, use pine shavings instead.
Try some stall dry, it might help. Does their run have a cover?

I use sawdust, my FIL told me years ago that hay or straw holds mites etc because it is hollow. Don't know if it's true but it put me off using it around my chickens.

Looking at your sig, we had a hive collapse last winter and replaced it with queen and 4 pounds of Black (Russian) Bees, they are wonderful to work with.
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Sand in the run! Sand sand sand. Good drainage, gives the chickens something to scratch in. Absorbs water, smell, etc. Really awesome run material!! And cheap too.
I had that problem too with hay when I first started roughly two years ago. I got rid of the hay, and switched to the deep litter method using food grade diatomeatous earth (DE). It helps keep things dry, and therefore the odor is significantly reduced. Now, I only do a thorough cleaning of my coop twice a year (spring/fall).
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I have a huge wheel barrel and take as much of the smelly dirt as I can out of the run. I have my birds in another coop during this time. I scatter the yelky dirt in my yard and treat it with fly predator to keep the flies away. Then I turn the dirt and treat it with food grade D.E. I then buy a bunch of sand and spend a few days turning it. I keep my birds out of that run until I feel that it is clean enough for their safe return. At that same time I treat the coop and leave the coop door open and put mouse traps in there. Just before I let my chickens back I put fresh straw in it. It takes me about two weeks to do this. I do have a tarp over my run. Take note: "A huge tarp". I keep turning the dirt as much as I can.
No hay or wood chips in the run. Use 1x6 boards around the bottom of the run and fill as you can afford with sand. In the main time use agr. powdered lime and stall dry. Rake it in good. The more sand the better. Does your coop roof water run into your run? Mine used to so I put up a gutter it worked wonders. I tried a tarp but the water that did blow in never would dry up and it would sour. Sand is the answer and stall dry. But I know it cost. I am doing mine a bit at a time. Good luck with your run. Gloria Jean
answering questions:
1) My run is on a slanted hill so sand wouldnt stay in place...if not id love to use it!
2) the run is partly covered. We built it underneath a deck (wish i had a pic to put up but currently dont).
setting a mental image though- There is a ramp on the side of our house which leads up to the second floor entrance. At the end of that ramp is a 15' by 15' wooden patio deck- their coop was built underneath. It just made sense to us since there were already pilings there (less wood used, strudy and very spacious).
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Hi there, I use sand for my run which I purchased at Home Depot and it's pretty cheap per bag and then I use a kitty litter scooper to pick it up when the girls are out. Stays really clean and no smell!

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