Friday, September 1, 2017

Does your chicken coop stink?

What do you do when your chicken coop starts to stink? Lets face it, all chicken coops are going to smell at some point. Lots of fluffy little bodies depositing poop everywhere is not exactly a recipe for pleasant scents wafting through the air like a gentle spring breeze. At some point, you're going to smell chicken poop. While you can't get rid of the smell completely, you can cut it down a lot and that's what I want to talk about today.

You can't stop the chickens from pooping, but you can can control the chicken coop odor. I've found that simply opening up the doors and windows can air the coop out enough to remove most of the stink. A well ventilated coop will let in some fresh air even when closed up, which also lets out any bad odors that have accumulated. 

chicken coop smells

Allowing the chickens free range time or access to a run can help in controlling the smell. If they're pooping in the yard instead of the coop it cuts down the smell from the source. They do spend time in the coop at night though, and nobody wants a smelly chicken coop, especially if it's near your house! Here are: 

6 things you can do to eliminate chicken coop odor


Clean it all out

Once a year I clean my coops out top to bottom and give them a day to air out. This is usually when I clean out the deep litter for the year. While I'm in there cleaning, I like to clean most surfaces with Oxine AH. Oxine is a non volatile sanitizer and disinfectant made up of sodium chlorite. This product is OMRI listed (organic materials review institute) and has applications registered with the EPA, USDA and FDA. (I wouldn't recommend it if it wasn't safe) In fact, Oxine AH is the only disinfectant USDA and EPA approved for Human, Animal and Poultry Drinking water. It's safe enough that I also use it in cleaning incubators. Follow the directions for mixing it on the bottle and use it as you would any other type of cleanser and disinfectant. For a milder daily cleaner, I mix up some of the orange peel vinegar spray from Fresh Eggs Daily.


Daily poop removal

There is one place in all coops where chickens tend to poop the most. Below the roosts is a hot spot for poop activity. All night long it's just one sleeping and pooping frenzy. In one of my coops I have poop boards. These are basically just a big piece of plywood mounted to the walls about 3 feet under the roosts like a shelf. These can be cleaned off quite easily. I simply position a bucket next to it and use a giant paint scraper to scrape the poop into it. It quickly removes the biggest source of poop smell in my coop. As a daily chore, it takes less then 5 minutes.

My other big coop has a rubber mat under the roosts. I use a plastic snow shovel to scrape it clean daily. It also takes about 5 minutes a day to do. I've been known to stretch this to every 3 days when I'm busy though.


Remove moisture in the air

When chicken poop is deposited (ya know...by the chickens) it is wet and smelly, but when it dries the smell goes away. Since you can't stop chickens from pooping, obviously the trick is to dry out the poop as quickly as possible. More moisture equals more smell. Good ventilation can help keep the coop air dry. Some people like to add fans to their coops to blow in fresh air. This is a great idea, but my bird brains would probably screw that up somehow. Instead I prefer to throw open all the doors and windows daily (unless it's raining of course!)


Use Lime

I use lime on my coop floors during the wet seasons. (Get Agricultural Lime from the feed store that's for use around animals. Do not use Hydrated lime!) Agricultural Lime is made from crushed Limestone and neutralizes the litters PH and eliminates odors. I buy barn lime and toss a few handfuls in the corners of the coop that tend to stay damp. If you can't find regular AG Lime, Sweet PDZ coop refresher is made especially for coops and works really well. They sell it in feed stores also.

Contain water mess

Spilled water is another huge moisture issue. Once dirty coop bedding becomes wet it causes your chicken coop to smell like ammonia. Nobody wants that! To keep the coop floor dry under the waterer I use a metal pan under my water fount. I add some wood shavings to the pan to absorb any water that splashes into it. This will need dumped out every time it gets wet. Even though wet wood shavings themselves won't give of an ammonia odor, they are adding moisture to the coop so they need removed ASAP.

herbs in chicken coop


Hang Herbs

When all else fails, cover the smell! When ever I need to trim back the herbs I hang some in the chicken coop. Basil, mint, lavender, lemon balm, catnip and rosemary are the ones I use most frequently. It all depends which ones need aggressively pruned at the moment! I just wrap twine around a bunch of stems and hang the whole bunch from the end of the roosts. You could also hang them on the walls or above the doorways....pretty much anywhere in the coop will do. I learned all about herbs in chicken coops from Lisa over at Fresh Eggs Daily. She has a ton of really great ideas for using herbs for chickens!

By using these steps regularly, I don't have much of a problem with coop odors. What do you do to 'fix' a smelly coop?

~L 

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3 comments:

  1. I love the tip about the lime. Thank for all the other tips as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try it, it works pretty well!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~L

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  2. We have considered "poop boards" for our set up too but have never gotten around to it. It's usually only a priority when I'm shoveling, lol. I really like the paint scrapper idea. Thanks for sharing with us on the Homestead Blog Hop!

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