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Now That You Have Chickens....

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  • Now That You Have Chickens....

    How is the smell? I was just wondering if anyone is having a problem with it because my neighbor fertilized his hay field with chicken manure and we about died because the smell was so bad for over a week! Also - include what you do to combat any odors. I still want some chickens ...just want to be prepared before we do the set up.
    Julie
    www.equusvilla.blogspot.com
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  • #2
    Admittedly, my coop sometimes has a, well, unpleasant odor...if I don't keep up on cleaning in hot weather. My darn girls are currently roosting on the pirlins (sp?) of my barn, as my coop is built in a corner of the barn, so I have to scrape the poo off daily, onto the floor. I "bed" my coop with hay that the horses leave uneaten or that I sweep up from the stack.

    Generally, if you muck your coop weekly then the smell is minimal. I just add my chicken poo/hay to my manure pile and turn, turn, turn.

    Of course, my dogs are BIG fans of chicken crap. It is the number one poo, right behind cat turds unearthed from mole holes, followed by tasty green horse poops. UGH.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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    • #3
      Our chicken house didn't smell and yes, I can smell very well.
      We put down sand, under their night roosting dowels and all over where they walked around.
      I swept the sand ever Saturday, desinfected the whole with pine sol or bleach, changed the straw or shavings in the nesting boxes, scrubbed that and all roosting places and floors and added a thin layer of sand to the floors again.

      I think that the chicken houses produce much more manure than our 15 chickens did and they are cleaned only every new batch of chickens they raise, so the sheer amount is why it is so smelly and for so long.

      Here, most fertilize with feedlot manure, some composted, that you can's smell, other from freshly cleaned pens and that is really stinky for a few days also.

      When we cleaned our (people) two holer, that also was very stinky.
      I think that any time you have any large amount of untreated biological waste, it is going to be very smelly.

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      • #4
        I had 4 before the feral dogs at 2, and 4 was stinky and messy, and gross.... but we had no bugs!
        I have a 6 acre farm with 4 horses, and 2 chickens are keeping the bugs down, adding comic relief, and not leaving messes everywhere.
        1 chicken per 2 horses

        Also, i have found that used bedding or trashed hay makes great bedding for under the coop. easy to pick up and doesnt cost anything.
        www.destinationconsensusequus.com
        chaque pas est fait ensemble

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        • #5
          On a side note, is it safe to compost chicken manure in the same compost bin as kitchen garbage? It will all end up in the same place (garden beds and such.) Does it work?
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          • #6
            For bedding, I water down the stall pellets until they break up into a sawdust. I use a kitty litter scoop to keep the coop clean. It never got flies or got smelly this summer, which is when it would be the worst. As long as you keep it clean, it doesn't get really smelly.

            Chicken litter makes the best compost! I never had a veggie garden like I did this year. I mix the chicken litter into my compost pile. Just make sure you keep it turned to get it mixed in well. I bought a "Yard Butler" which is an auger that you attach to an electric drill. That thing works like gangbusters keeping my compost pile mixed up!

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            • #7
              Mine free range in the day, so coop is not bad. I'm down to 9 chickens. Hubby designed coop for easy cleaning, set up so poop falls from roosts through chicken wire to pile underneath, where they can't get into it. He sweeps out every couple of weeks I think... He uses some alfalfa hay on the floor of the coop. Seems to absorb smells and the chickens love it. Even if I stick my head into the coop, can't really smell it... Of course it's never HOT here.....
              Turn off the computer and go ride!

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              • #8
                Mine don't smell. I clean out every 2 weeks. In the coop, they only poo from their roost and it all lands on a big plastic tray which I cart outside and pitch under the maple trees! They're out free-ranging 12 hours a day. The coop has shavings on the floor, hay in the nesting boxes, sand in the outside run.

                I'm glad to hear the chicken-fields stank to high heaven...I was about to order a tractor trailer load (or 3) for my hay fields. Perhaps I'll rethink. A week of stink you say? Well, maybe better this fall than next, when the daughter is having a farm wedding?!
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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                • #9
                  Until Saturday I had over 50 chickens. They free-range but still managed to mess up the coop. Never noticed a bad smell, and my coop is pretty close to the house.

                  I strip it twice a year - spring and fall. Meaning I remove everything, scrape and disinfect, then put down fresh shavings. Makes fabulous compost.

                  You can stir the bedding as manure builds up, and you can also put down some baking soda. But honestly, I only noticed a few flies and no real smell. Usually when I noticed any flies there was a broken egg or egg without a shell. Otherwise - considering how many chickens live in that coop it was almost fly free.

                  Hope that helps.
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                    I had 4 before the feral dogs at 2, and 4 was stinky and messy, and gross.... but we had no bugs!
                    I have a 6 acre farm with 4 horses, and 2 chickens are keeping the bugs down, adding comic relief, and not leaving messes everywhere.
                    1 chicken per 2 horses

                    Also, i have found that used bedding or trashed hay makes great bedding for under the coop. easy to pick up and doesnt cost anything.
                    Two is enough to keep the bugs down for how much room? Feet/yards/miles?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                      Until Saturday I had over 50 chickens. They free-range but still managed to mess up the coop. Never noticed a bad smell, and my coop is pretty close to the house.

                      I strip it twice a year - spring and fall. Meaning I remove everything, scrape and disinfect, then put down fresh shavings. Makes fabulous compost.

                      You can stir the bedding as manure builds up, and you can also put down some baking soda. But honestly, I only noticed a few flies and no real smell. Usually when I noticed any flies there was a broken egg or egg without a shell. Otherwise - considering how many chickens live in that coop it was almost fly free.

                      Hope that helps.
                      egg without a shell?! How does THAT happen?

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                      • #12
                        I think Jswan means an egg with a soft "skin" instead of a hardened shell. When hens are first starting out, sometimes things aren't as well formed as is normal. I've had a few of those this fall as my new girlys are getting going.

                        I just scoop up the poop daily, add to horse poop in the wheelbarrow and add to manure pile. Makes fabulous compost, when aged, for the garden.
                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                        • #13
                          Ours don't smell, but be aware that different breeds have different odors. Meat chickens (the cornish crosses) stink, no question about it. It's also a matter of how much airflow there is, and the density of chickens.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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                          • #14
                            I had no idea that the different breeds had different odors. It makes sense, though.

                            We had meat birds this summer housed in a different coop, but then eventually moved into our garage because the raccoon kept ripping the wall off their coop and eating them (whole other story), but no matter what I did, the garage smelled 'off' compared to the coop with my hens and roo. I just attributed it to them being boys.

                            My girls will eat the flies when they wander in from outside!

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                            • #15
                              Trixie's three chicky-ladies are in an oversized chicken tractor palace that gets moved once or twice a week. No poo accumulation.

                              Mr. Wings built an A frame sort of coop that was 2/3 wire enclosed pen and 1/3 plywood hen house when he caught Mrs. Kravitz for Trixie. When she acquired Agnes and Gertrude, he built a rectangular first floor and put the original coop on top of it, then replaced the A frame part with plywood, tar paper and shingles so they now reside in a lofty chicken condo.

                              His next effort will be to add handles at one end and wheels at the henhouse end so we can move it more easily.
                              "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."

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                              • #16
                                The fields were likely spread with something from a huuuuuge commercial operation. My only experience with those is one that had several hundred little turkeys in a single room with sawdust 'bedding.' Stank something fierce!!! Every so often they would herd the turkeys into the other side of the barn, and scrape out the used area. Yuck!

                                ETA i really don't know how often the bedding was scooped out (I can't call it "cleaned" because that's all they did, using a Bobcat or something like that); can't be very often because the manure pile was AWFULLY tiny...
                                Last edited by nightsong; Oct. 2, 2009, 06:56 AM.

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                                • #17
                                  Mine don't smell, which is nice, since they are in my backyard! They will have a "chickeny" odor on very warm, humid days but it's minimal.

                                  I use pine shavings with the deep bed method and clean off the roosts regularly - this is where any smell will be if I notice it.

                                  There was a coop up the road from me and the smell coming from that was horrendous! You could smell it when driving by in a car! It meant only one thing... that it was overcrowded and the owners were NOT cleaning it at all!

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                                  • #18
                                    I have 5 hens in a converted garden shed.
                                    The only time I ever noticed any smell was before my henyard fencing was up & they were confined to the coop all day. Even then it was minimal.

                                    Now they spend all day in the yard and I remove poop every morning by cleaning off the poop boards (2X4s) under the roost and picking up the stray pile left by the one who roosts elsewhere.

                                    I have only replaced the bedding in the coop - pine shavings - completely one time in the 4 months I've had them. I have added some fresh shavings from time to time - a bag lasts me over a month!

                                    Eventually I imagine I may have to rake the yard itself, but after a month there is no noticeable smell there either & not even a lot of poop to rake.
                                    I think they scratch it into the dirt in their endless search for things to eat.

                                    I have started a ChickenPoop compost pile not far from the coop and there is absolutely no smell from that. Even in hot, humid weather.
                                    Next Spring I'll use that compost for my gardens - flower & veggie.

                                    OTOH: is anyone besides me thrilled that chickens don't pee?
                                    No wet spots to clean up!
                                    Last edited by 2DogsFarm; Oct. 2, 2009, 06:58 AM.
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                                    • #19
                                      The farm I work for has a chicken coop/fenced + covered run in. There are 8 hens and a rooster. It really doesn't smell at all. We give them excess hay, garden trimmings, etc in the run in, and shavings in the coop. We clean it out completely and replace the shavings once a month or so. I was pretty surprised (never dealt with chickens before this). Of course, it doesn't get very hot here ever - very mild weather, rarely over 80 degrees.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post

                                        I'm glad to hear the chicken-fields stank to high heaven...I was about to order a tractor trailer load (or 3) for my hay fields. Perhaps I'll rethink. A week of stink you say? Well, maybe better this fall than next, when the daughter is having a farm wedding?!
                                        Oh GAWD!!! The girl who cuts my hay arrived yesterday and started spreading my fields with what I expected to be a short fiber paper product...WRONG. She had gotten a deal on CHICKEN and has spread about 50 acres of the stuff all over my fields! Holy Hannah, it REEKS around here. Em and I did our gallop sets in one field yesterday and we all about passed out. When I got home last night, I had a grumpy message from a neighbor saying she wants to discuss "the manure situation"...O boy.

                                        Sunday update: Yay! It poured rain all day yesterday and now we can breathe again! The neighbor was very grumpy about the stink, said she'd prefer we use cow manure next time, that she prefers that to chicken! Huh?!
                                        Last edited by RiverBendPol; Oct. 4, 2009, 09:15 AM.
                                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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