Using deep litter method.. But it still stinks!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gonzo, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Gonzo

    Gonzo Songster

    May 25, 2009
    Southwestern, In
    Am I doing something wrong? I cleaned out the coop in the fall, put de on the floor, and 1 bag of the wood shavings down, with more DE. I add a bag of pine shavings every month, and add DE every 2 weeks. all this for 27 chickens (5 are bantams), in a 10x12 yard barn which I converted to a coop. And the amonia smell was bad today! Theres vents on both front and back for ventilation.. Am I doing something wrong? The litter was even wet! Could it be all the rain we've had? What should I do? I went out this morning, fluffed up alot of the litter and added alot of DE, mixed it in, and add more shavings.. Anybody have any ideas on what I'm doing wrong or need to do? [​IMG]

  2. cthrash1

    cthrash1 Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Somerset, KY
    Sounds like you have a leak somewhere... Your litter shouldn't be moist at all if the coop is leak proof. The vent holes aren't on the side that the wind blows the rain against the coop are they? If so close them up and put the vents at the top underneath the eaves on a side that the rain doesn't blow against. If it smells that bad then you should go ahead and remove all of the litter now before your babies get a respiratory infection. Moist litter is not healthy. Also if you continue deep litter remember to rake it once or twice a week to keep the litter shifted and fluffy... Plus raking and shifting sends the poo more toward the bottom of the pile and keeps it all aired and fresh.

    Good luck with your coop and your babies...

    ETA: Once a month is fine for the DE... Mojo Chick'n in KY learned this the hard way, put too much DE and the dust from it made her chickens sick in that particular coop.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  3. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    I know DE is very popular around here, but I doubt it is the cure all that everyone thinks. Hydrated lime will dry out deep litter. If your litter is wet, that is a problem. Look for roof leaks, check waterers, and try and prevent rain from coming in windows. However, rain should dry out unless your ventilation is poor. Since it sounds like you are pretty fastidious with the litter, then I would bet your ventilation is inadequate. Make more or install a fan.
  4. bantamsrus

    bantamsrus Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Charlotte, MI
    Last winter I used the deep litter method and it worked fine.

    This winter has been milder--days in the mid thirties, and the deep litter method is not working. The top layer gets soaked within a week and stinks.

    Don't know if it's because of the higher mosisture level or because the birds are coming in out wet everyday (bantam cochins).

    Have reverted to cleaning out the coop every week and just giving them a new bale of straw--much better [​IMG]
  5. Break an Egg

    Break an Egg Songster

    Mar 17, 2008
    San Antonio
    You can use de and add some sweet pdz to it. It is used in horse stalls and keeps everything nice and dry.
  6. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I use sweet PDZ or Stall Dry - either works great and I have no problem with smell. I just rake the bedding, add Stall Dry and DE, and let the chickens mix it in.
  7. Gonzo

    Gonzo Songster

    May 25, 2009
    Southwestern, In
    I checked for a leaky roof, its fine. I think its a lack of ventilation, and the moisture levels, and all the chickens coming in wet. I have 2 vents at the top one faces north, the other south, and they're the size of what we'd have with our central heating and air in our homes. I have 2 windows, one faces east, and the other west, but they're closed off for the winter. I opened them half way for now. Since working out there this morning the smell seems to be gone, but I know it won't last. I think as soon as we have a day with no rain, I'll triple my vent size, and add some lime. hopefully this will help get me through to drier days. [​IMG] Thank You All For The Great Responses!

  8. Gonzo

    Gonzo Songster

    May 25, 2009
    Southwestern, In
    Whats sweet pdz? And where do I find it?
  9. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    I've been doing the same, and there is an ammonia smell in there also, I use lime, DE, sweet PDZ and it still smells. No leaks, nothing. All in all, I think it's just time to change it out. 16 hens in a 10 x 14 coop all winter will eventually stink.
  10. Chook-A-Holic

    Chook-A-Holic Songster

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central, N.C.
    I use Stall Dry and hydrated lime in mine. I have no problems with moisture or smell unless it slips my mind to use it. Once a week I put a 16oz Solo cup of lime sprinkled throughout, then the next week I do the same with Stall Dri. I only add shavings as needed. My shavings are 12" deep and are turned once a week. The chickens also help keep them fluffy by dust bathing. I also keep the waterer and feeder in the run and not in the coop unless I'm brooding chicks. Even with all of the rain we have had and the chickens running in and out my coop floor is dry. The coop smells like chickens and not like poo or ammonia.

    If your litter is that wet you really need to do as others here mentioned and change the litter before your little ones get sick. Keep a close eye on things and find ways to combat the moisture.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010

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