Wood ash for coop floor

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sybadd, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Sybadd

    Sybadd Out Of The Brooder

    31
    0
    32
    Nov 26, 2013
    Hi all

    First of all i know there are some who are against using wood ash full stop.

    I am very picky about what i burn in my stove and andy trees that give off any nasties are left out. Nor do i burn any form of treated wood or of cuts from my workshop. I buy wood from an acquaintance who has local apple farm so the mist part is apple wood with a bit of oak and chestnut.

    Any way that aside...

    I already use wood ash in a corner of the run for their dustbath but im thinking about lining the coop floor with it under the roosts to catch all that poo.

    Any thoughts please?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I don't see that it would do any harm, at all. It is widely felt that wood ash helps them rid themselves of external parasites. I don't know how good a job of absorbing odor and moisture it would do, though. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I do this but only a sprinkling on top of sand. About one metal kitty litter scoop worth for the whole coop. Then I sift with kitty litter scoop daily after raking with plastic rake. (Wear mask when sifting sand.)

    Make sure ashes are cold and beware that sparks can theoretically be found in ashes up to one month later. Also they love to eat charcoal and it can make the poo black.

    Ashes are 50% calcium and my chickens love to eat them- also the charcoal. They have minerals as well.

    I keep my ashes in a metal fire pit in the chicken run and they dust bathe in it too. Keep out of rain or you will make a lye solution (as in soapmaking!).
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,778
    9,298
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They might try to dust bathe in it and mixed with roost poops...well......maybe not a good idea.

    What goal are you trying to attain by putting ashes under the roost?
    What else is under the roost....some kind of bedding like wood shavings?

    If you're trying to dry up the poop and reduce odors, I would suggest Sweet PDZ...about $10 for 25# at TSC.
    I use it with sand on the roost boards and it works well to neutralize ammonia.
     
  5. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    548
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I wouldn't recommend wood ash in the coop. Pine shavings do a good job absorbing moisture from droppings so long as droppings aren't left to accumulate. I've added wood ash to sandy dirt areas birds choose to dust themselves outside. Housing must have as good air quality as possible, so think about every time a bird hops off the roost, dust particles will be airborne from that ash. Chickens have sensitive respiratory systems, so the less dust in a confined area, the better off they are.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  6. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

    3,895
    211
    261
    Aug 8, 2011
    Oregon
    I use sand, it works great and is easy to scoop poo out daily.
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Actually, I think this may be a valid point. I won't brood in the house because of the dust (with, I assume, some dried poop in it.)

    A lot of people have described good experiences with sand; I've never tried it, myself.
     
  8. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    3,495
    548
    318
    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    I use clean river sand also in the yards, but not in the coop. Sand is worked into the soil over time, loosens the soil, and helps with drainage in the yard during Winter. I also have a lean-to to provide a dry area all year long. It is a large enough area to hang feeders, place waterers and still give them room to dust if they want to. There are also areas where they range that are preferable for them to dust in. My coop is placed on concrete piers about 18" off the ground. The floor is 3/4" hardwood plywood and use pine shavings for floor litter and nests. I clean up droppings under the roosts in the morning with a fine rake and scoop after letting the birds out. Shavings break down and get powdery after a few months, so I clean them out every 3-4 months, treat the coops, and put in new shavings. I have windows on opposite sides of the coop, and open eaves on one end of the roof with a wall vent on the adjacent wall to that. During cold, windy weather, I can close windows and still have good ventilation this way. The air quality is good and the coops do not stink.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  9. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

    3,895
    211
    261
    Aug 8, 2011
    Oregon
    Sounds great Michael, I have a covered run also then a door I open where they can go out in another run. I've been thinking about adding some sand to the covered run area too for better drainage although it drains fairly well. I use to use pine shavings but brought scally leg mites in on them once ( bought from a farm feed store) and had read all the great things about sand and decided to go that route. My coop is off the ground also, I put vinyl down then the pre washed medium grade construction sand. I'm sure you don't have any mites with your treatment plan wich I plan to do this spring when I clean all the old sand out and put in fresh. Thanks for taking the time to give us all such great advice!
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,545
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My only concern would be the amount of dust/ash in the air. Unless you dampen it down, you've usually got ash floating all over the place. I also empty my wood stove ashes for the birds to dust bathe with, but try to keep it to a kinda-confined area to keep the dust down.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by