When do I clean out the coop completely?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cboriskin, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is 4X4. I have been using shavings on the floor and adding shavings once per week. Right now, I have 2 chickens living in it, but this weekend am planning to introduce 2 more in the coop. Every other day, I rake the shavings. There is no foul odor, but there is quite a bit of dried poop. When I add shavings, it's good until the birds start scratching and then everything is mixed up and the poop rises to the top again. Is it okay to leave it like that as long as the poop is dry or do I need to clean it out completely? I have DE, but haven't used it yet. Should I be using it all the time?
     
  2. roxyblue

    roxyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the poo has all dreid up and isn't making an oder and you add mre wood chips on a regular basis I would say once a month or so.
     
  3. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Right now is a great time to clean out your coop floor completely, just rake it out, then add 4" of clean wood shavings and sprinkle with DE. Throw a small amount of scratch on the coop floor every week and you can mix or rake as needed. 4'x4' coop is very small. It is good that your dirty litter is dry and not smelly, that means you are doing a method that works.

    Hugh's new litter rotation method:

    Start with clean shavings in all three Sections, assuming the coop has exterior nest boxes attached. Sprinkle floor with DE before adding new shavings and also sprinkle on top of shavings:

    Day 1:

    Section #1: Nest Boxes - 2-3" of fresh shavings

    Section #2: 1/3 of coop floor in front of nest boxes - 2" fresh

    Section #3: 2/3 of coop floor under roost bars - 4" fresh


    2 months: Throw Section #2 old shavings over to #3 and mix (6" total). Throw #1 onto #2. Add 2-3" fresh shavings to Section #1 and fresh 2" to Section #2.

    4 months: Repeat 2 month procedure, Section #3 now has 8" of shavings.

    6 months and New Day 1: Clean out Section #3 to compost pile. Add 2" fresh shavings + litter from Section #2 to Section #3, repeat Day 1 above, repeat, repeat, repeat. A full clean out of Section #3 can be done at anytime after 4 months or partial clean outs, whatever you decide to experiment with...

    Enjoy the flowing system, any feedback? Am I nuts?

    --Hugh
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is just a tiny bit smaller than yours. I have 4 birds. I clean it out completely in the fall and in the spring. In the meantime, however, I do scoop the poop off the poop board daily. I sprinkle DE and add extra shavings as needed.

    When I do clean out the coop completely, it always seems like I'm just wasting a lot of dry shavings as it still smells fine and the floor is pristine beneath the shavings.
     
  5. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hugh, interesting method, but I think I will try it. Yay Chicks: I was hoping your idea was an option. I too plan to have a total of 4 chickens and I understand that 4X4 is plenty of room. We do have a cut out on the floor to allow the chickens to reenter after they go out of the coop (the coop is on 4' stilts), so the floor space is smaller than 4X4. The nesting boxes are attached from the outside. Thanks all for your suggestions.
     
  6. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't see how Hugh's method will work. I can decide where to have deep shavings and where to have it shallow, but, by the next day, the chickens will have arranged to how THEY want it.
     
  7. Cluckin'Crazy4them

    Cluckin'Crazy4them Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:[​IMG] ain't that just the truth! I think I shall try this idea anyway. It sounds like it'd work. Less maintenance and shavings wasted! Thanks Hugh!
     
  8. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:

    I'd say if your cleaning out the largest poops and mess then things are good and you can come to my place and give me a hand. You can just keep doing what your doing , cleaning out the biggest poops and replacing the little bit of shavings you remove at that time. Let your nose guide you.

    I think your a great chicken keeper,

    Rancher
     
  9. cboriskin

    cboriskin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Rancher Hicks. I'm a city girl trying to raise chickens for the first time. I have no idea what I'm doing, but this site has helped me alot from building my coop, selecting breeds and much more. So, I appreciate everyone's help.
     
  10. SC_Hugh

    SC_Hugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot to mention that I installed a 9" divider between Sections #2 and #3 and so far, nothing has made it over the divider.

    Also, when section #3 gets to have 8-10" of shavings added to it, it will really compress down to a lower level. The shavings in Section #3 won't get too high to make it over the 9" divider wall.

    Working so far,

    --Hugh

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011

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