Any flock owner is familiar with unpleasant odors that come from their chicken coop. Even though you love your feathery friends, combating the smells they produce can be pretty tricky. Luckily, we have a few solutions for you.
You might have already thought about a couple of the solutions regarding the aroma coming from your backyard chickens, but utilizing one or several of the options below can make all the difference. Let’s get into it!
How to Get Rid of Chicken Coop Smell (6 Ideas & Tips)
1. Promote Air Circulation
The air inside coops can become stagnant. When you have a bunch of birds pooping in the same area, it can get stinky quickly. Did you know that chickens can eliminate up to 15 times a day? And that’s just one chicken!
Typically, people have flocks of at least four chickens, and sometimes people have many more than that. So, if you have all of these chickens together in one space, things will likely get messy and smelly.
If there is no air circulation in your coop, it will cause all those smells to linger. Getting a fan or another type of device to generate circulation will help reduce the odors that you (and your chickens) experience.
Another idea is to leave a coop window or door open, allowing the fresh air to mix with the coop air. Plus, in the warmer months, your chickens will appreciate the coolness of a well-ventilated living space. Just make sure you are living in an area where the risk of predators coming for your chickens isn’t high, otherwise, a fox or wolf may have easy access to your coop if you choose to leave the door or window open.
In winter months, however, if you have a fan running, it’s best to make sure your chickens get adequate heat. You wouldn’t want to freeze them out in an effort to have the coop smell better.
Many chicken keepers install a wall-mounted box fan in the coop. This is both inexpensive and relatively easy to set up. You can find box fans for as little as $15. Depending on the size of your coop, it may help to have more than one.
2. Use Aromatic Plants
Just about every person in this age is pretty familiar with the power of essential oils and herbs. These are highly concentrated natural plants that have aromatherapy effects.
The original plants from these oils and herbs can be highly effective at toning down the smells in your coop. It might even make the coop smell good! You can plant these items around the pen for strong odor control.
However, if you’re planting, beware of toxic plants that could be risky, including:
You can also sprinkle petals from roses and other lovely-smelling flowers to control the odor.
3. Try Lime
Lime? Just lime? Well, maybe not the lime that first comes to your mind. We’re not talking about the delicious green citrus fruit. We are actually talking about ground-down limestone, also known as calcium carbonate. If you haven’t heard this before from any of your fellow chicken keepers, a lime is a godsend for many.
Of course, you want to ensure that you get agricultural lime to ensure that it’s entirely safe for your barnyard buddies. Certain limestone products are not suitable for livestock, so you need to do your homework.
Many feed stores and online websites have agricultural lime for sale. Not only is the substance safe for chickens, but you can utilize it for other barnyard animals as well. It is a natural bug repellent, too, so you can kill two birds with one stone (just not your chickens).
4. Clean Frequently
If you have ever had a caged animal in your home like a hamster or guinea pig, you are well aware of the importance of spot cleaning cages. Removing dirty spots daily will increase the longevity of the bedding you choose and reduce smells.
Chicken coops work precisely the same way but on a larger scale. Flocks benefit greatly from routine quick cleans once a week at least. That means setting a schedule to go out and scoop the dirty parts of the coop, removing feces from apparent areas.
You don’t have to remove all the bedding at once if you keep up with it. You can also replenish the bedding supply, refreshing it when necessary.
Also, the coop needs an intense cleaning at least twice a year. It would help if you made sure to remove any bedding, debris, buried eggs, and other such things to revitalize the area thoroughly.
5. Reduce Moisture
Moisture is not your friend when it comes to keeping chickens. You can turn the entire floor of your coop into a stinky soup in no time if you don’t control it. The coop needs, in addition to being well ventilated, to have no excess moisture where the bacteria from the feces can fester.
If you have ever kept ducks, you know that there is absolutely no way to clean their area. Every time you give them fresh water, it’s dirty within minutes, and they’ve slung it into their bedding and everywhere else.
Luckily chickens are a little bit better about keeping the water where it belongs. Even though they are not quite as messy as their waterfowl cousins, they can knock over water sources and spill things if given the opportunity.
Even though when night falls, most chickens are ready to hit the hay, some of them might still get up to take a drink or frantically buzz around the coop, knocking over water bowls or bottles. Many keepers like to remove any water dishes when the night ends to eliminate the risk because when the water mixes with the liquid bombs your chickens leave, it can turn the bedding sour quickly.
Also, if you have any open windows in the coop, it is a good idea to shut them or put up something to protect the coop’s interior from rainwater. So, if you are expecting inclement weather, you can secure the cage so no moisture gets inside.
6. Try Commercial Products
There is a market for everything you can even think of these days. You know by smelling that coop that you’re not the only person who has a massive problem with it. Many companies have caught on and are catering to their consumers’ needs with a host of cleaning products for flock owners.
If you’re looking for a quick fix for your coop’s odor problems, we like Sweet PDZ Chicken Coop Refresher, for example.
This product uses a unique combination of minerals as odor neutralizers to reduce the smell of ammonia in the coop. It is in pellet form, easy to spread on virtually any type of bedding—from sawdust to straw.
Plus, it’s entirely chicken-safe!
You can use the product one to three times per week with no issues. It is an excellent multipurpose item on hand, a real lifesaver for many chicken keepers.
If you have solid soil in your pen, you can also try a product like Coop Control to reduce smell, provide aeration for the soil, and even ward off flies—which can really stress hens out.
Health Issues Resulting from Dirty Coops
Keeping your chicken coop clean is more important than making it smell nice. Dirty coops can lead to a whirlwind of health problems for your livestock that can be easily avoided with routine maintenance.
Since chickens are farm animals, you might think that nature takes care of most of the mess. But especially in coop situations where they are in an enclosed space, bacteria and ammonia can really build up in the area, causing real trouble.
Some consequences of a dirty coop include:
Thrush infections in chickens are also referred to as sour crop. It is an unsightly issue, making your chickens feel pretty dumpy. It can lead to some severe distress, so treatment is essential.
You might notice that your chicken has dull feathers, a cheesy vent area, and crust in the eyes and mouth. Luckily, the yeast infection is not contagious so your flock won’t be passing it back and forth amongst each other. However, prevention is critical.
Sour crop can be caused by several environmental factors, including a dirty coop. While you should never use antibiotics unless it’s essential. If the infection gets too widespread, it will be a requirement.
Plenty of things can prevent and get rid of thrush. If you suspect that your hands might be suffering, make sure they have fresh clean water and a well-ventilated space with as few stressful triggers as possible.
- Respiratory Illness
Our beloved roosters and hens are incredibly susceptible to their environment. When they are breathing in a lot of ammonia and other dust and debris, it can cause respiratory illnesses to develop, some of which are contagious to the entire flock.
There are several respiratory illnesses that your chickens can get. However, prevention is as simple as being very aware of your chicken’s environmental surroundings.
Unfortunately, certain respiratory illnesses can be tough to treat. You might lose a chicken or try to deal with the whole flock. So just as we mentioned with thrush, prevention is the best solution.
Keeping your chicken’s space clean and low on ammonia is the best way. Once a living space has more than 25 ppm of ammonia in a stagnant area, it becomes increasingly problematic for your poultry.
Fresh air is also essential, so make sure your chickens have ample access to the outside air.
- Immunity Decline
And unfortunately, once one of your chickens gets sick, likely, all of the others will too if it’s not treated quickly enough. This leads to further expenses that can really put a damper on things.
Once a chicken starts to get sick, recurring infections can become challenging.
In order to make sure your chickens have a robust immune system, make sure you are feeding them high-quality commercial chicken feed and keeping their living areas free from infections as much as possible.
Utilizing these tips, you can keep your chicken coop smelling less like a cesspool. But we want to stress the importance of cleanliness to prevent illness among your flock. That’s really the most critical aspect of keeping your coop tidy.
You can use one or a combination of these methods, and you are likely to see favorable results. Sure, some of them might take a few extra minutes out of your routine, but the results are well worth it.
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Featured Image Credit: richardernestyap, Shutterstock |