Keeping the smell down?

Discussion in 'General Chicken Discussion' started by Righteousrich, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Righteousrich

    Righteousrich New Member

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    Since I lost a hen to a hawk after the leaves came down I've been keeping my flock in a 10x20 kennel cage. I've just planted grass seed in the chicken yard, and am waiting for good growth, and leaves to appear on the trees before letting them in the chicken yard again.
    Question is: the caged area has gotten pretty funky smelling over the winter. Should I be able to put lime down, then straw...or just DE and then straw? Will the lime hurt their feet?
    What do you do for keeping the funk down?
     
  2. Righteousrich

    Righteousrich New Member

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    This is my chicken ranch
     

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  3. 7chicks

    7chicks New Member

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    I rake mine out once a week and toss in cold wood ashes from our outdoor wood boiler. Keeps the smell away and if I toss a bucket full in a pile in one spot of their run, they dive in for a bath. Free entertainment for them.

    The junk I rake up, goes into my gardens and around my shrubs. Great for the soil!
     
  4. haley4217

    haley4217 Junior Member

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    When I started my flock I read a lot about "deep liter" as a way to control the smell in the coup. After 2 1/2 years I am still sold on this method to control smell in the coup area. What I can't stress enough is when it is described as deep liter, it does need to be deep. So, first off my coop is 12x14 and I keep between 12 and 18 chickens. They have additional areas to get out into during the day, so the coop only sees use at night and in foul fowl weather.

    I put two bags of Tractor Supply pine shavings on the floor after I've dusted with DE. About two weeks later I dust with DE and put one more bag down. The hens will scratch around and stir up the shavings and turn over the poop covered top shavings into the deep liter. The shavings make excellent insulation for them in winter or summer. In the heat of summer 100 degrees they all make nests on the floor digging deep into the shavings to keep cool.

    The liter will keep the coop pleasant for quite a while. If the chickens don't keep it turned over and fluffed up I go in the coop about twice a month and turn it myself. I've been reading in other threads that adding a little hay to the litter will entice the hens to scratch it up. I may add another bag after about 3 or 4 months depending on when I'm planning on cleaning the coop out. Somewhere after 6 or 7 months, depending on the time of year (spring / summer sooner fall / winter later) I get the wheel barrow and leaf fork and get 90 percent of the old litter up. The start all over with DE and fresh shavings.

    The side benefit of this is that the chicken poop has time to compost in the shavings and is now not to hot to put down on your plants. Plus the shavings help to put organic matter in the soil. Watch though if you use pine shavings it might bump your PH up a little.

    Presuming I use 8 bags a year (4 every six months) this is costing me about $48 per year for shavings, but I find the control of smell and insects worth the investment.
     
  5. RiverOtter54

    RiverOtter54 chicken bum

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    Whats DE again?
     
  6. haley4217

    haley4217 Junior Member

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    Diatomaceous Earth
     
  7. RiverOtter54

    RiverOtter54 chicken bum

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    Thank you!
     
  8. Righteousrich

    Righteousrich New Member

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    Has anyone used lime? I was thinking of raking everything out in the pen. Then dusting with garden lime and DE. Then putting down a good layer of hay. Just don't know if the lime would hurt their feet any.
     
  9. Wrigley

    Wrigley Junior Member

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    Lime has a High Ph, which, after prolonged exposure to skin can cause chemical burns. I'm sure if you didn't put too much down and you covered it with hay like you said, it probably wouldn't be a problem, but I would check with a Vet, just to be safe.
     
  10. cgmccary

    cgmccary New Member

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    However the best litter for deep litter method is leaves, such as oak leaves, due to their higher carbon content. My coops have dirt floors and I use about a foot of dry leaves. It smells like a forest floor in there. I have lots of leaves.

    I am not at home so I can't look at the bag, but the powder you put in horse/ cow stalls to freshen them and make them smell better is good to use with poultry too.
     
  11. camel934

    camel934 New Member

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    I am in the process of setting up my chicken area. I haven't bought any chickens yet and this will be my first experience. I found out that the build behind my house was once used for chickens. There is an outside area that I plan to fence in: about 20' x 25'. I feel that should be large enough. I plan to dig down a foot or so where I am placing the fence in order to make sure critters can't dig their way into the coop. There is a "whole" in the side of the build made for chickens to go inside. I plan to build a ramp for them. Inside, I plan to fence in part of the building for their roosts and nests. I figured 10' x 8' should be big enough inside. I will make a gate so I can go inside and retrieve the eggs and clean their area. For the nests, i plan to use small cat boxes filled with straw. i thought that would make it easier to remove and clean. The floor is cement. I am unsure what to out on the floor to protect them, keep them insulated and to keep down the smell. I am open to any opinions here on all the I formation I provided.
     
  12. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    Smell generally means time to clean.
     
  13. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    Yes, sweet pdz. I have that too, but I really don't use it much. I have been doing the deep litter method, through the winter with hardly any smell. I did notice with the rising temps there is a bit more odor. I love the fact that I have nearly an inch of 'dirt' under the straw in the coop. All composted straw, pine, and poo.
     
  14. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    I really like using a mix of straw and pine. In the fall I did use leaves, but I don't have any left. I know many use sand, never tried it. I like the idea of having compost able materials to use in my garden.
     
  15. fodderfeed

    fodderfeed New Member

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    I put my old Christmas tree in after Christmas every year no smell at all!
     
  16. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    That us a great idea. I could only put in a few branches, but it wails smell great.
     
  17. fodderfeed

    fodderfeed New Member

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    A few branches would work doesnt smell like a chick house now its great.
     
  18. Righteousrich

    Righteousrich New Member

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    Today I cleaned the coop, new shavings and DE. I then raked and shoveled out the run area down to dirt. Hit that with the DE and put down some straw. It did cut down the smell a lot, but not completely. Maybe need to give the DE a little time to work. I also through some in the igloo, which is my dust box for the girls. They loved that. They went in their right away and made a cloud from all their wing flapping.
     
  19. kahiltna_flock

    kahiltna_flock New Member

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    I can't wait for things to warm up and dry out so I can muck out the run. I think there is 8-10 inches of straw in it. We still have about that much snow left to melt, not counting what will still fall. Got to keep those girls dry!
     
  20. Energyvet

    Energyvet New Member

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    Yes. I changed out my hay in the nest boxes, put out the outside food and water bowls again. Had a little chicken TV time with my son. Waiting for the green.