We have twelve chickens and I have tried many things over the years. Using a rotating litter method is what works for us. We have snow in the winter, and average days of rain. We have humidity in the summer and we live in a wooded area. The run is covered but open on all sides.One of the first things that you try and educate yourself about when you keep chickens is waste management. As with keeping any animal, it is important to properly manage their waste to keep your animals healthy, prevent disease, prevent rodents, eliminate odor, prevent flies and so forth. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask what techniques I use in my chicken coop. This topic always seems to be a source of great debate. So, here is what I do.
|To prevent boredom, add some stumps, branches and even ladders.|
Every morning, we scoop up the chickens’ droppings from underneath their roosts. It takes no more than a few minutes. In general, this keeps the coop pretty tidy over the weeks.
Then once per month we:
Clean out the entire run. Rake it out until you have removed all of the waste. Thank the chickens, you will find that they have already kickstarted the composting process with their continual scratching and digging in the dirt and shavings!
Take the soiled shavings from inside the coop and toss them out into the run. Spread them out evenly on the ground of the run or let your chickens do it for you. They love scratching and looking for treasures!
Finish cleaning out the coop.
Vacuum up all the cobwebs and dust with a shop vac.
Wipe down surfaces with a chicken coop cleaner or a water solution with 10% bleach.
Remove the roosts and scrub them down and set them in the sunshine to dry.
Mist the coop and nesting boxes, including the nooks and crannies, with Poultry Protector. Let it dry.
Once the coop is dry, sprinkle food grade DE lightly on the coop’s floor and in the bottom of the nesting boxes.
Add a couple of inches of kiln dried pine shavings to the coop and nesting boxes.
Sprinkle the nesting boxes with nesting box blend.
I believe that this technique has kept pests such as mites and lice at bay as well as other internal parasites such as worms. By recycling the coop’s shavings to the run, the pest repelling products remain in the litter. We rarely have flies or any coop odor. I also don’t like to wash my eggs. Clean nesting boxes keeps eggs clean. Lastly by adding the shavings in the run, we avoid pools of water from rainfall. Even with the covered run, the rain does get in, especially during periods with heavy rain and wind.
The soiled dropping from the run as added to the compost pile to finish curing for a couple of months. Then we add it to our gardens. Chicken manure makes beautiful compost!
I’ve recently added a new product to our routine called Dookashi. Stay tuned for my impressions.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest