Tips for cleaning the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TheAmundsons, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    Hi! We got our chicks (and two ducklings!) about 2.5 weeks ago, and so far everything is going really well! We had them in a kiddie pool in the heated garage (still had a heat lamp to make sure it was comfortable for them), but we just finished building our coop and moved them in on Friday! They seem to be VERY happy with it! It's a pretty big coop for the flock we have now, but we read to make the coop bigger than needed because you'll end up getting more. Our enclosed coop (not including the run) is 8ftx5ft. We've been spot cleaning the bedding, but we aren't sure the best way to maintain cleaning bedding in the long term. I've read a lot about the deep litter method, and it sounds like a great idea. Dan, on the other hand, isn't as sure about it. He's worried that it could lead to the birds getting diseases and could effect their eyes (he has a whole list of health related concerns). I haven't seen anything about that in the research I've done, but I was hoping someone could help us solve this debate! We also have been buying pine shavings from our local store, and he's concerned that changing the entire bedding every week or two weeks will get pricey (I agree, thus the deep litter method). Any thoughts or suggestions would be very helpful! Thank you!
     
    HuskerHens18 likes this.
  2. Sunny-Side Up

    Sunny-Side Up Turn towards the sun & the shadows fall behind you

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    I only have wood shavings in the nesting boxes, and the rest is dirt or grass (in the run and bottom level). I definitely wouldn't recommend doing the deep litter method for the nesting boxes. You'll want to clean those every week or so.
    You don't have to have wood shavings everywhere, although it might make it easier to clean.
    Have fun!
     
    TheAmundsons likes this.
  3. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    Yeah, we were planning to use straw in the nesting boxes (we haven't built those yet because the chicks are only 3 weeks old). I was talking more about the rest of the covered raised part of the coop. Thanks for the help!
     
  4. playsnfire

    playsnfire In the Brooder

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    Everyone has their own opinions on litter methods, so I will share mine. Keeping the coop clean is right up there with having enough room for the birds. They lay better, better health, and let's face it, happier chicken raisers. Deep Litter, sand, straw, hay, shavings, saw dust, shredded paper, horse bedding, corn husks, all have been used, but the correct answer is the one that is good for your birds and easiest for you and your family. I have not used the deep litter method personally, but many on here have with great success. Some only clean the coop once or twice a year using that method, and then, in turn, use the litter in their gardens as compost. I personally have a poop board that is under their roost, and the rest of the coop is covered in straw I buy from my neighbor. The board gets cleaned everyday. That might sound like a pain, but I am at the coop 2x day anyway to feed water, and collect eggs. The straw helps to keep their feet clean when they come into lay, and I only get 1 or 2 muddy eggs every now and again. i end up changing the straw out only when it becomes dirty from little feet or starts to break down from scratching. Ammonia buildup from the poop and moisture are not good for them. If you go in the coop, and your eyes burn from the smell, or the dust is bothering you, then they are just as likely to be bothered. You may try several different litters or methods before you find one that works best for you. Keep it dry and clean, and they will be happy.
     
    GracieJ, HoopyFrood and TheAmundsons like this.
  5. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought about trying different methods until we find one that works. That sounds a bit like common sense! thank you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  6. sillybirds

    sillybirds Songster

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    I don't use the deep litter method myself, but my understanding is that for that method to be used, it has to be on the ground, in order for composting of the lower part of the litter to occur. Is the floor of your coop elevated off of the ground? My coop is elevated. I covered it's wooden floor with linoleum, and have 3-6 inches of pine shavings over that. Having poop trays under the roosts, I only have to clean out main coop litter every several months. Maybe someone whose uses true deep litter method can chime in too. Also, perhaps you can post a picture of your coop?
     
  7. Hi! I see you're from Vermillion, SD! I drive through there quite often :)
    I use TSC pine shavings during spring/summer/fall and scoop out poop like I would a cat litter box.
    During winter when they have to be confined 24/7, I use corn husks from my fields and just pile it in there, when I go to clean it, the top layer is all poop and the bottom is clean and dry. It's similar to deep litter I think? But I do take out the feces, it just smells too bad in my opinion. Good luck finding what works for you :)!
     
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  8. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    :goodpost:

    I would add one teeny modification - I put my head down to chicken height to assess if there are issues with ammonia/mold/dust, etc. It's amazing what a difference even 4 feet of height makes :)

    How many birds total is that coop designed for?

    We have a 4x8 coop with only five birds. They are 11 months old today (hooray!) and we have not yet done a deep clean on the coop. We spot clean daily (no exceptions) and have used only pine shavings.

    I can't tell you our long term strategy because I'm waiting for a dryer patch of spring weather to do the deep clean and make our next decision in that regard. If I can make it such that with a couple modifications spot cleaning is all we need to do except for an annual deep clean, that's what I'd like to do.

    So far only spot cleaning has yielded for us a perfectly clean coop (with one exception, hence the modifications I mentioned) and happy, healthy birds. We use one bail of pine shavings (3.25 cu ft) about every two months and they cost us a little less than $5 each. Average daily spot cleaning takes 5-10 minutes. This currently works well for us, but that's just us. Hopefully some more useful data points for you?

    Incidentally the health concerns regarding deep litter method can definitely be overcome, so no worries there. But DLM does have it's own "maintenance" that goes along with it. Unfortunately I can't coach on DLM, though, because I don't do it.

    Just be sure to evaluate any potential coop cleaning/maintenance regimen with your composting/gardening plans, too :D

    Good luck and have fun with it!
     
    GracieJ and HuskerHens18 like this.
  9. GracieJ

    GracieJ Songster

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    I was pondering the exact same thing. My ducks and ducklings will be going into their coop next week (hopefully, depends on when their run arrives and I can put it together) and I filled it with their bedding today. I covered the wooden base floor with white thick cardboard then linoleum samples I had from some kind people at the carpet store :) so today I lined it thick with newspaper and then with a tonne of hay. I’m hoping it lasts a couple days with them in. That being said, as mentioned already, it could get expensive purchasing hay and straw every week, but I do that regularly anyway as I have rabbits too. I Have pondered the deep litter method but would feel better in myself if I cleaned it out routinely - that and I can’t stand flies come the warmer weather :barnie once I’ve developed good cleaning method I’ll be sure to return and lend my thoughts :D
     
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  10. TheAmundsons

    TheAmundsons Songster

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    Wow! Small world! Yeah, we have an acreage outside of town (still technically Vermillion), so we figured chickens and ducks would be a nice addition to help fill the land!
     
    HuskerHens18 likes this.

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