What do dhickens smell like?


6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
Zoning laws have recently changed and we're about to get 3 or 4 hens. I would like to place the coop right up against the back of the house. My wife is concerned that they're going to smell bad. We have neighbors to the left and right. The coop has to be at least 25 feet from their property line. We don't have a fence. There are woods behind the property. What are your thoughts on where I should place the coop?


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Dec 12, 2013
Congratulations on being able to get some chickens!

As long as you keep the coop clean (remove poops, don't leave food scraps laying around, etc.), there should be very little smell. One reason I wouldn't want it right next to the house is the noise level of some chickens is kind of loud. For example, we have a couple that sing the egg song at the top of their lungs no matter who lays an egg and one of our girls does not have an "indoor voice", lol, she doesn't just chatter she yells off/on most of the day like some old washerwoman.

Good luck to you and have fun!


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
It's pretty easy to keep the coop odors down if you keep things dry and use a roost poop board and clean it regularly.

The run can be a whole different story unless it is covered from rain and snow or you have adequate deep litter to 'eat up' the poops.

Ditto on the noise levels.


Oct 8, 2013
New Hampshire
I clean the coop every morning and the run every evening. There isn't much of a smell. You'll need a plan for where you're going to dispose of the manure though. I live on five acres and have a manure pile in teh woods. Not sure what I would do if I was in a more suburban area.

I think the lack of a fence will be a concern. The chickens will definitely wander into your neighbors' yards. They love to eat plants and scratch and dig in lose soil. I would be very proactive and ensure they are contained to your yard. I would also make a habit of bringing your neighbors eggs so they see the chickens as a positive addition to the neighborhood.


5 Years
May 18, 2014
Manassas, VA
That's a tough decision...on one hand, right next to the house is better for security and ease-of-access for those tending the chooks. The obvious downside is the noise though that can be countered with white-noise (we sleep with a fan going to drown out the early-morning crowing). As to smell, I agree wholeheartedly with others' comments so far. A dry, clean environment is a happy environment. We have poop-boards under the roosts and scoop them every 1-2 days. The run is covered and is scooped/raked every week or two. They free-range in our fenced side and back yard (about 3/4 of an acre).

We are a residential neighborhood so fencing is VERY important to keep our chooks on our property. We opted for this from Premier1. It is inexpensive (compared to permanent fencing), easy to move, can easily grow by adding more and can easily be electrified if predation warrants it. We did not want our decision to get a gaggle of chooks to be a burden to our neighbors who have as much right to enjoy their odor-free, not-too-egregiously-noisy, no-poop-on-their-patios, undisturbed-expensive-landscaping outside time as much as we do. To that end we also have the cockerels collared and have our coop fairly close to the house to keep the pre-dawn crowing as far away from the neighbors as possible. We maintain a dry (so dry in fact we have to lightly water it occasionally) coop/run (sand) and keep it poop-free to keep odors down. The little bit of poo that doesn't get scooped (giant kitty-litter scoop) quickly desiccates (moisture = odor) and breaks down in the dry sand. There is no odor beyond the brief earthy effluvium of a freshly-dropped chicken-bomb.

Since I tend to get long-winded on my soapbox, the TL;DR summation is as follows:

  • Congratulations on winning the right to raise chooks
  • Put the thought/time/money into enjoying your chooks responsibly so as not to irritate your neighbors
  • Your right to enjoy/maintain your flock ends at your property line. Period.
  • Chooks outside your control/property lines are nuisance-animals and fair game for predation by wildlife and domestic animals (including two-legged predators of the irritated-neighbor variety)

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