Yet another dropping pit question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Reinbeau, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    I'm laying out the interior of my 10x10' coop. I'm planning on having a dropping pit under the roost area. The length is 6'. How wide should I make it? 4' wide is what I'm thinking. We're putting in a scooping door on the outside, underneath the pit, so I can rake it out right into my cart.

    Then comes the roosts. Should the pit be about 2' deep, to allow a ladder of sorts to go up over the pit? It sounds as though you shouldn't have the first rung too high so they can easily get up there when they're young, or old and heavy [​IMG]. Advice?
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    My chickens can poo about 8" to occasionally like 10" from the roost when they're up there, so I would say size your droppings pit to that sort of range.

    Pat
     
  3. Moonwalker

    Moonwalker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say a minimum of 10 to 12" on each side of the roost and a convienient size for whatever tool you will be using to scrape it out. If it is wider than your cart or wheelbarrow, you might conside making a little "chute" at the end narrower than the rest of it to channel it into the cart. This can be as simple as a board set at an angle inside the pit.
     
  4. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    Thank you for those answers, they help alot. But I'm still wondering how deep and how wide? I can make it as wide as I want, I was thinking of making it 3.5' wide by 6' long, that ought to accommodate all of the birds (15 for now). But depth wise, a foot? Two? I'm making the outside door (to rake it out into the cart) 30" wide (that chute idea is great, I'll use it!)
     
  5. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    hmm... if your rake-out door is narrower than the length of the pit, won't a lot get stuck in the corners?

    I have a droppings BOARD but if I were doing a pit I would make the clean-out area the entire length of the long side (or two doors maybe if its too long). I would make it about 24-30" wide if it is under one long linear roost. I would make it about a foot or so high, framed and covered with wire.

    With 15 chickens, you're going to need 150 linear inches of roost, or more than 12 feet. So I suspect you're going to have two shorter roosts paralell to each other instead.... in which case you're either stepping them at a 12" horizontal space, or they're level with each other and like 18" apart. After you get the roost placement defined, simply extend the front edge of the droppings pit 12" further into the coop.

    So if your roosts are 6' long, and level with each other, the spacing is like this:
    first roost 18" from wall, second 36" from wall, front of croppings pit 48" from wall. Maybe you could space them a little tighter so you don't have to reach 4' into the coop to scrape the poop out.

    The pit doesn't need to be very tall if you're cleaning out regularly. They'll use the front edge as a step to hop up if the roosts are not too far up.

    Does that help?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2008
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I don't think I understand the question about how wide -- you make it about a foot (on each side) wider than your roosts, no? Like, if you have a single 6' long roost, you would make your droppings pit approx 2x6', centered under the roost (or a bit wider, to simplify things by just running it all the way to the wall).

    Depth depends how often you plan on cleaning it out.

    Sorry for being dense,

    Pat
     
  7. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    No, Pat, you're not dense, I'm befuddled myself, but Seachick seems to have nailed it - That helps a lot! Thank you both so much.

    To SeaChick - you have a dropping board....what's the difference? What's the management with a board instead of a pit? As for corners, someone upthread suggested putting boards in as a kind of chute to make cleaning it out easier, so that was my plan thus far, but you've brought up a possible alternative, I'd love to hear more.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I have droppings boards too (e.t.a - that is, I have them instead of a droppings pit), and love it. I prefer to scrape the poo off into a bucket every morning. I use an old dustpan to scrape with, but other people often use a hoe. That gets a LOT of the chickens' output removed from the coop altogether, right away (so no moisture or stink from it), and it can be added nearly bedding-free to the regular compost pile. I do sprinkle a little tiny bit of bedding on the board so stuff doesn't stick. My droppings boards are made of that cheesy plasticky-covered cheap shelving material that you always see people setting out at the curb for the trash truck -- the plasticky layer makes it easy to get *clean* clean every now and then, and poo scrapes off very easily. Seachick's vinyl flooring on a board sounds like a good arrangement too.

    I think the decision of droppings pit vs board sort of comes down to how often you want to clean it out. I find it easy to do every morning, occasionally skipping a day if I'm rushed, but if longer intervals between cleanings sound more appealing (or if you would have a ladder-style roost that would be more work to scrape under every morning -- works best with a single linear roost) then a droppings pit may be better.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  9. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Yup, what Pat said!!!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the droppings board. We only have 6 chickens so we use a plastic spatula to scrape it off. My DD is supposed to do it every day, but like Pat, occasionally it goes a day or two. We also sprinkle a little shavings from the floor on it after scraping clean, as its easier to scrape off that way and in winter it doesn't freeze to the board.

    Here's a pic of ours:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    Great, thanx a bunch, that helps a lot. Since I'm having 15 birds, I think I'll go with a pit. Good thing, too, cuz little did I know hubby had already framed in the door for the cleanout! I'm going with the pit.
     

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