How do you raise chickens that don't stink? - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 24 Old 01-04-2008, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
chinaKat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would love to have a few chickens for fresh eggs, but I've never known anybody to raise them without the stinky STINKY smell of chicken manure lingering about.

I have a one acre suburban lot that abuts woodland, and wonder if there is any way I could have chickens in the back part of the lot without subjecting myself (and the neighbors) to any odor.

I dunno, maybe it's me, but I absolutely cannot abide the smell. Cow or horse manure are practically perfume in comparison.

Pipe dream? Or doable? Educate me!
chinaKat is offline  
#2 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 12:15 AM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,777
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
They need a lot of space. Contained animals stink. It's unhealthy for the animals, unhealthy for the people. I clean my pens frequently, and for your aize area, I wouldn't feel comfortable with too many birds. Our pens smell more in the winter as the animals can't be outside as much because of bad weather. In summer, they are outside all day, over a large area. We keep the barn doors open for a portion of each day , and we have a window fan in the larger pen that moves the air out 24/7, 12 mos of the year. Animals need space. Any stench is from too many animals in too small an area. I've visted places that have that sweet smell of happy animals, and I've visted places where the stench is sickening. The sickening stench means they aren't caring for their animals as they should, period.
UUMom is offline  
#3 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 01:11 AM
 
spring978's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
keep their area covered with lots of fresh straw daily it keeps the flies and smell down.
spring978 is offline  
#4 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 01:59 AM
 
junebugmidwife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: A cold, cold land
Posts: 297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think wood chips and/or shavings work best. The ammonia/nitrogen in chicken manure that stinks binds with the carbon in the wood. Straw can be tricky as it's slow to compost--wood goes away a bit quicker. We have 4 hens (now 6) on a very small city lot and you can only smell it when you are pretty close to it. Putting wood chips on the ground in their pen helped a lot with the smell, and also the dreaded cloud of flies. For city chickens, they recommend stirring the material every week and replacing it once a month. We are not up to that schedule, but it seems to be going well. I throw scratch on the floor of the coop and the pen, and the chickens do a good job of stirring for us! Just add a bit of bedding if it starts getting stinky or damp in the winter. I don't plan to really clean it out until spring.

Our pen is pretty small (6x8') but they free-range all over our fenced yard quite a lot as well. Just make sure the lower 6" or so of your fence has small holes or a board so the wood chips don't spread everywhere, if you would be bothered by that.

Go for it!
junebugmidwife is offline  
#5 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 11:37 AM
 
pygmywombat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northeastern Ohio
Posts: 543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When I had mine penned I would put down a layer of mulch (the kind you get from the tree trimming companies that is everything chopped up, not the crap that comes in bags from Home Depot) every few weeks. It kept any smell away and give them something to dig around in for bugs.
pygmywombat is offline  
#6 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
chinaKat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
How much space would I want to dedicate to them? They couldn't be totally free range b/c the street is quite busy (and my neighbors surely wouldn't dig it anyway), so I'd need to fence.
chinaKat is offline  
#7 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 01:10 PM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,777
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I also like and prefer the shavings.
UUMom is offline  
#8 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 01:58 PM
 
pygmywombat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northeastern Ohio
Posts: 543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Depends on how many you want to have.
pygmywombat is offline  
#9 of 24 Old 01-05-2008, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
chinaKat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by pygmywombat View Post
Depends on how many you want to have.
Um, a few...

2-3 maybe?
chinaKat is offline  
#10 of 24 Old 01-06-2008, 12:28 AM
 
Twwly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bruce County, ON
Posts: 981
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The only way 2-3 chickens would smell is if your housing was too small and you never cleaned it.

Keep it tidy and you won't have stink.

Edit to add: Any chicken book will give you the breakdown of space per bird, I have no idea what it is offhand, we give ours far more than the guidelines suggest. If you can move them in a portable pen or give them a good section of land, you really won't have a problem.

Homebirthing, homeschooling AP, gardening maniac running a working farm. No circ, no vax, no cable TV. EC'd and CD'd, tandem BF'd.  Cheese and soap making goat and child herder.
Twwly is offline  
#11 of 24 Old 01-06-2008, 10:00 PM
 
annethcz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: on the beautiful prairie of MN
Posts: 9,947
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I found that when I had my chickens in a chicken tractor, I didn't notice any problems with smell. I moved the tractor to a new spot everyday, which kept the manure from accumulating.

I have my chickens in a coop now, and it is a little smellier. I'm using the deep litter method, which means that I keep throwing bedding down without removing the old litter. I use pine shavings, and honestly I don't find the smell to be bad at all. I add pine shavings about once a week, and it helps to keep the smell down. In my sitaution, the cold really helps also. Frozen poop doesn't have much of a smell.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
annethcz is offline  
#12 of 24 Old 01-06-2008, 10:02 PM
 
APBTlover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern US
Posts: 754
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've kept 3 chickens on our 1-acre plot free range with no problems. They only roamed to the neighbor's land for maybe a week (and our neighbors were fine with it; 3 free range chickens don't cause any odor)... they had a very clear sense of "home" and didn't leave our land after that.

That's just my experience; this year we might be doing a "chicken tractor" setup to keep them from bothering our freshly-sown garden seeds, but I'll probably let them run free anytime I am outside.

treehugger.gif SAHM with a precious toddler and the love of my life, expecting a new little one July 2014!
APBTlover is offline  
#13 of 24 Old 01-07-2008, 12:37 PM
 
UUMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,777
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
On an acre, I would think you could do more than that. They like to keep each other warm, anyway. Also, smaller chickens mean less poop and less smell. Have you considered bantams?

What has your experience with chickens and their smells been? I ask because if you've vistied production farms, those *do* stink. Too many fat birds in too small of a space. Lots of eating of commercial grain, lots of pooping in a confined area etc. Small family flocks with pastured or free range hens are something else entirely.

I raised broilers this year, and they did smell much more, and I had to clean their pen out frequently. They were large birds (up to 6 lbs) and they ate lots...pooped all the time. I kept them outside free ranging as much as possible. Layers are quite different.
UUMom is offline  
#14 of 24 Old 01-07-2008, 01:35 PM
 
pygmywombat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Northeastern Ohio
Posts: 543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've had over 3 dozen chickens (standard sized layers of various breeds) in a 50 by 20 foot pen with no stink issues. I put down mulch every few months just to give them something to dig around in and absorb the mud. 2 or 3 should be fine for an acre and since they are addictive and you will likely add more you probably won't have any smell issues. I would chose an area for bedding compost that they can't get to, because they will spread it everywhere. After a year or two it is excellent for gardening.
pygmywombat is offline  
#15 of 24 Old 01-08-2008, 08:57 PM
 
greenmagick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 2,496
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A chicken tractor, or portable coop will definitely cut down smell. You could probably let them free range a bit here and there too. If you let them out close to sunset, they usually dont go to far.

Otherwise, several chicken groups I am on suggest using a sand floor. Easy to rake clean and doesnt get soggy and moldy

Nicole - )0( unschooling mama to Lilahblahblah.gif (12/21/05) and Cianwild.gif (9/21/07) as well as 3 dog2.gif 2 cat.gif,  4 rats, chicken3.gif and ducks
 
 

greenmagick is offline  
#16 of 24 Old 01-09-2008, 12:46 PM
 
Crunchie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: M to the D
Posts: 505
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Go the chicken tractor route. It's the healthiest for your birds if you can't free range them. You can keep 2-3 standard size laying hens stink-free pretty easily if you have a moveable set up. If you want them primarily for eggs, I wouldn't go with bantams; you'd just have to have twice as many hens to get the same amount of eggs for eating. You have to eat twice as many banty eggs to equal what you'd eat from a standard size hen. That said, some of the breeds in bantam are soooo cute...

I've had good luck with pine shavings in my breeding pens that I don't move around. Keeps things dry and keeps the smell down. But like I said, tractoring is best....lets them scratch around in fresh grass/leaves, do real "chicken stuff", you know? And the pp is right, let them out close to sunset every now and then for an hour so and they can have a little taste of the free-range life. You can not only have stink-free birds, you can have happy healthy birds on your one acre, too!

One little guy born 6/17/07 : :
Crunchie is offline  
#17 of 24 Old 01-11-2008, 02:28 AM
 
momtoalexsarah's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: The great grey county - ontario
Posts: 1,149
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Straw or spelt hulls work well but you have to keep it dry - good ventilation is key and make sure that your water sourse dosn't leak. I have 18 hens is a pen bedded with staw and oat/spelt hulls, I deep bed it and clean it twice a year - it has no smell at all (well at least compared with the pigs beside it)
momtoalexsarah is offline  
#18 of 24 Old 01-14-2008, 05:38 PM
 
piemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 109
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have 5 hens on a small city backyard and the chicken coop is less than 12 feet from our window. It doesn't stink as much as I would have imagine. We use pine shavings inside the coop and scape out poop/shavings every few weeks. The chickens free-range all day so they are only in their coop at night.
piemama is offline  
#19 of 24 Old 01-14-2008, 06:46 PM
 
ustasmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 2,999
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Can you use the tractor system with egg producing chickens?

We had Cornish cross in a tractor system and it was super easy and not a bother at all. But I want eggs this time.
ustasmom is offline  
#20 of 24 Old 01-15-2008, 07:24 PM
 
greenmagick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 2,496
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ustasmom View Post
Can you use the tractor system with egg producing chickens?

We had Cornish cross in a tractor system and it was super easy and not a bother at all. But I want eggs this time.
Yep, just put nest boxes in it. My hens free range all day most days and go back into the tractor to lay eggs in the nest boxes.

Nicole - )0( unschooling mama to Lilahblahblah.gif (12/21/05) and Cianwild.gif (9/21/07) as well as 3 dog2.gif 2 cat.gif,  4 rats, chicken3.gif and ducks
 
 

greenmagick is offline  
#21 of 24 Old 01-17-2008, 11:30 AM
 
slymamato3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,464
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We use pine shavings and that works well. We've been raising birds for 8 years now always had them free range on our 3 acres. Foxes and weasels have wreacked havoc on our little farm this past year and we are trying to figure out how to keep them free amd happy this spring. It sounds like you shouldn't have stink issues with so few birds. good luck!
slymamato3 is offline  
#22 of 24 Old 01-17-2008, 04:35 PM
 
Arduinna's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 32,629
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
free range and movable shelter is the best way and it keeps the smell down.
Arduinna is offline  
#23 of 24 Old 01-18-2008, 03:01 PM
 
gottaknit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 2,846
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have three chickens on a city lot and have never had stink issues. The onlt time I noticed a smell at all was one day when it was 104 degrees, I was eight months pregnant, and decided to clean out the coop. ( Classic crazy pregnant behavior.)

I let my chickens free range all day and then go back to the coop at night. I have never had any problems with garden destruction, either. Not so much as a peck at a ripe tomato (but they did peck at the leaves of the broc). Three chickens just don't do much damage, or stink unless you never let them out or clean.
gottaknit is offline  
#24 of 24 Old 01-27-2008, 03:48 AM
 
musicmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 46
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This site has great pics of a chicken tractor for layers. It looks to be a really good plan that this guy alter from "Chicken Tractor" by Andy Lee (good book to have).

http://http://www2.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/fowl/tractor.htm

HTH!
musicmamma is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off