smelly chicken run

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Ron and Jean
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smelly chicken run

Post: # 210000Post Ron and Jean »

Hi,
We have 6 hens in a 8 x 2m run with a shed in the middle for them to live in. With all the recent rain the smell has become really bad. We use straw as bedding, and muck this out into the coop once a month or when needed, we also put grass and hedge clipping in the run. The ground is quite water logged just now and is smelling. I don't want to upset our neighbours so feel the need to tackle the smell.

I have had a few ideas:
did sink holes and fill with stones as drainage
cover ground with sand
add lime (not sure how much or what type - I have read this can burn their feet if done wrong)
use sawdust not straw - but this would be much more expensive as we get cheep straw from the farmer...


moving the run is not really an option as we can't move the shed...

Just wondered if anyone had any experience of smelly chicken runs to share?

Thanks
Jean

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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210038Post sheridand »

I live in the Fens and just about everything can get waterlogged really quickly. With this in mind I built my run on a hardcore base, then a mix of mud and stones. I've also tilted it slightly towards the run-off.It's also surrouned by a gravel path, and raised just above the actual ground level. So far, it's drained well, and the chickens like the stones to scratch about in and look under. I haven't really noticed any poo in the run at all, it seems to just vanish into the mud. I suppose if it isn't well drained enough it could hang around and smell? I would try the boreholes first, then maybe try woodshavings and paper? I use a mix of woodshaving and the local rags shredded and so far it's been lovely,though it is early days. It was recommended to me by my neighbour who does the same. I've never had any smells from his chooks. It ekes out the shavings nicely.

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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210040Post Mrs H »

Hi guys, sorry not sure if this will be of much help but here goes!! I used to be farm manager on an organic farm were we kept 500 chickens in various houses. We used electric netting to secure the chickens. Around the houses used to become smelly in the wet weather especially if any meal had been dropped. We did move the houses out of it when possible but in the middle of winter we couldn't get the tractors in so we used to put a thick layer of straw round the houses. Essentially my advice would be to find a way to move the shed!! As you can't move the run frequently I wouldn't muck out into it and I wouldn't give them the cuttings unless u r going to scoop out what they don't want!! This should prevent the smell getting so bad.
I have no experience of drainage so hopefully someone else can help with that but for the here and now immediate response, a good layer of straw down will make it more pleasant for ur girls.
Good luck. Xx

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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210053Post Thomzo »

I don't know if it'll help the smell any, but to keep my girls' feet out of the mud, i throw all my hedge clippings in. The twiggy bits lifts the level of the run above the mud and they love pecking around in it.

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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210074Post Millymollymandy »

I have very rarely had any problems with mud and no smells as I pick up the poo every day, but occasionally when it has become a bit soggy I put straw down just on the bit from the entrance to their run to the shed where we walk, as it's probably our wellies rather than the chooks that make the ground more muddy. My soil is very free draining so it's only walked on areas which get muddy, like veg patch paths. Anyway straw seems to do the trick although of course they then want to scratch it in and scatter it all around.... :iconbiggrin:
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Ron and Jean
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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210319Post Ron and Jean »

Thanks for all your comments. I am wondering if it is the muddy straw in the run that is the problem. The shed doesn't smell, but we do use straw on the floor which gets mucked out into the run. I cleared all the muddy straw out or the run, and used it to mulch the front garden. The smell has gone from the run (the front of the house is now a bit whiffy though).

We tried using paper and cardboard but felt the wooden floor was continuously damp which is why we started using straw. I am not sure what else to do with the straw other that leave it in the run to compost then muck it out to the compost bins or flower beds?!?

I also dug a drainage trench and filled it with stones from the beach so hopefully that will help too.

Has anyone used lime for the smell?
Thanks
Jean

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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210327Post boboff »

If you can get to a saw mill with a trailer a dumpy bag of shavings can cost very little, during the winter just keep adding as "deep litter" clear out in the spring? Try a cheap Tarpaulin over the top of the run to stop allot of the rain? Leave them in the shed on really wet days.

All things I have tried, but essentially its a loosing battle unless you move the run around, or keep fewer chickens, and wait of the Spring!
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Re: smelly chicken run

Post: # 210335Post oldjerry »

Long term could you not make the set up mobile.6 chickens don't need a busting lot of space,I used to keep Indian game birdsas a hobby,separate from the free range flock,in a morant pen,with handles like a sedan chair,and a floored roosting area with the nest boxes.Before I let them into the attached run in the morning,I moved itsideways to fresh grass.In the winter if you wanted,you could put the whole set up in your veg area,and they could eat loads of overwintering nasties.

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