Silkies For Sale

How to Get Rid of Odors in the Chicken Coop

20170804_115301Nothing is worse than a smelly chicken coop.  A stinky pen can be dangerous to your chickens as harmful bacteria, wet bedding and dust can cause respiratory ailments and other problems.  Hot, wet weather with high humidity can increase the bad odors and the problems associated with it. If the odor floats over to your neighbor’s yard you will now lose their good will concerning your chicken flock and then you will realize that something needs to be done about the “smell.”

Allowing chickens to free range or have access to a run can help in controlling the odor problem in the coop itself.  The poo is dispersed outside in places  where it can dry out and break down naturally.  Wet poo and wet bedding with poo mixed in it is what is causing the smell inside of the coop.

Removing the poo from the coop and run is the best way for controlling any odor problem.  I use a paint scraper to daily remove poo from my ramps and run.  Scrape any hard surface that has poo on it. Many people place a board under their roost. The board catches the poo during the night. In the morning scrape all of the poo into a bucket for easy disposal. I go through the run every morning and pick up and remove with my scraper any poo left from the day before. Especially pick up the wet poo that never dried. This is the kind of poo that smells bad and attracts flies to it.

About every two weeks I clean out the entire coop bedding. I sweep up and remove poo and dust and use my paint scraper to scrape the floor and sides where poo has attached itself.  Spray with water and scrub walls and floors. If you let the water sit for awhile on the poo spots, it will help to loosen it from the surface. This will make scrubbing it off easier. After it is washed spray a sanitizer such as Oxivir or Oxine and let it air dry.

Pine shavings are best to use for bedding. Sand works well too as it is absorbent.  Straw tends to rot and can grow moldy. Pine shavings should be 4-6 inches deep.  You could add a little Diatomaceous Earth to help dry out the coop in humid weather. Place it in the corners or where ever it is damp.  Make sure that it is Food Grade.

Use lime on floors during the wet season.  Agricultural lime is made from crushed limestone and neutralizes the coop litter PH.  Hydrated Lime is caustic and can burn the bottom of your chicken’s feet so if you use that kind of lime make sure that it is below many layers of bedding.  A very good product is Sweet PDZ coop refresher. Place it under your bedding to help with wetness and odor.  Other similar products are Coop N Compost coop odor neutralizer and Fresh Coop odor ControlDookashi for poultry coop odor elimination is also  a compost accelerator.

Zeolite is a natural crystal that is good for drying out and neutralizing odor.  Marineland PA0382 and Sweet Coop are two products that use Zeolite.

When it comes to odor, moisture and water are not your friend. Clean up spills as soon as they happen. Keep the food and the water away from each other. Wet food can smell very bad and will start to spoil.  Use a Fountain style waterer instead of a bowl. I place mine on top of a galvanized pan to keep it higher than the bedding. Make sure that the waterer is level and not dripping onto the bedding.  Change bedding if it becomes wet. Fill your waterers outside of the coop and then bring them in.  Also,  make sure that there are no drips coming from the ceiling causing wet bedding when it rains.

Open up windows and doors whenever possible. A well ventilated coop will let in fresh air and  let out the bad air that has accumulated.  A box fan in the window is wonderful for dying out the moisture and keeping flies away.  If you still smell a strong ammonia smell, it is time to clean the coop

For more tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our weekly silkie blog at VJPPoultry.com.  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria Peterson

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Silkies For Sale – 8/18/18

 

Silkies For Sale – 8/12/18

How to Practice Biosecurity in Your Own Backyard Silkie Flock

7a31a8c5e329aa4f6b0d5ac6083b2c62Everyone wants their chickens to be healthy, but are you truly giving them the best protection possible?  There are some very lethal poultry diseases out there and you may, without even knowing it, be bringing those pathogens into your backyard. It is important to think about setting up some kind of defense between disease and your birds.

When we use the term “Biosecurity” we are talking about a system of methods that, used correctly, will help to protect your birds from the unseen viruses and bacteria that are looking for a new home. We don’t want that new home to be your chicken coop.

There are many contagious diseases out there that can effect your flock.  There has been an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease is southern California this summer.  This particular outbreak is effecting small backyard flocks and not the large commercial poultry houses like we saw with the Avian Flu a few years back. The Newcastle outbreak highlights the need for year round poultry biosecurity.  If biosecurity is not practiced it would be very easy for Newcastle disease to make its way across the United States infecting birds as it hitches a ride on the tires of a truck or on the bottom of someone’s shoe.

The first thing that you can do is to keep things clean in your own backyard.  Something as simple as washing your hands or using hand sanitizer  before entering or exiting your bird area can be effective. Change food and water daily in your pen.  Clean and disinfect cages, tools or other equipment that comes in contact with your birds or their droppings. There are several good disinfecting products.  I use Oxivir on everything. Other good products include Oxine and Virkon S.  Cleaning and disinfecting are important steps to keep your bird’s environment healthy.  Disinfectants only work effectively when you first clean all dirt,  manure, and bird droppings from your tools, cages, boots and equipment. Clean these things outside of your house to keep germs outside.

Have a separate set of clothes and shoes that you wear only in your poultry area. I have a pair of slogger boots that I only wear when I am doing chicken chores. They slip on and off easily and can be cleaned daily with a garden hose.  I do not go down to the chicken coop unless I am wearing those boots. I have a set of snowmobile boots that I use in the winter for chicken chores. When I go into the house I change into my house shoes.  Those shoes I will wear in the brooder room and the incubation area.  I wear an apron in the brooder room that is washable.  Outside in the adult chicken area I have a coat that I only wear when doing chicken chores. It is washable as well. I also wear gloves that are easily washed as well.   It is important to me to keep the adult chicken germs away from the baby chick area and the rest of the house.  Wash and disinfect shoes and clothes often.

It is important to keep other people and other birds away from your flock as much as possible. That includes birds you just bought and wild birds. Both could carry disease to your chickens.  Restrict access to your property and your birds.  Avoid visiting farms or other households with poultry.  At your own place, do not let visitors near your birds at all if they have their own birds. It is sad to have to say this, but you need to protect your flock.  If you can’t avoid contact with others then make sure that you disinfect your shoes and clothes before being with your birds again.  This is why you need separate boots and coats that you only use with your chickens.  Don’t use other people poultry equipment without disinfecting it first.

If you like to exhibit birds at poultry shows, make sure that you quarantine birds for at least two weeks after the event. Wear different shoes and clothing when at the show or fair and disinfect when you return home. Disinfect cages that were used for transport.

Be sure to buy birds from a reputable source. Check and see what kind of biosecurity they practice.   Someone who is an NPIP breeder has their flock pullorum tested every year and can only buy from others who are NPIP.  A state inspected hatchery has a state vet come out and inspect the premises every year and discusses biosecurity standards with them.  Whoever you do buy from make sure that you keep new birds quarantined for at least 30 days.

Don’t let wild birds have contact with your flock.  If your birds are outside, consider keeping them in a screened area. Do not let wild birds eat food in your chicken run. This will also help keep insects and rodents away.  Hang fly strips or fly traps in the coop. Flies can transmit disease on the bottom of their feet. Put out mouse traps and clean up spilled feed to keep your area rodent free.

Change is always hard especially if you are used to doing things in a certain way. Just pick one suggestion and start with that. Once it becomes a habit, choose another biosecurity measure to implement.  You will feel better knowing that you are keeping your flock safe and healthy.

For more tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our weekly silkie blog at VJPPoultry.com.  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria Peterson

cute Chicken cartoon character with stop sign

 

Silkies For Sale