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Do chicken coops have to smell?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1559
Location: Denver, CO
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I'm on a small lot and so if I get chickens they will need to be in a stationary coop; they will range through the orchard area, and will have a covered and mulched scratching run for bad weather. Tractoring or something similar might be better, but for various reasons does not work here.

Every coop I've ever been around has smelled, well maintained ones slightly and poorly maintained ones horrendously. But they all had that "bird" smell.

With clever design, can a coop not smell at all?

I'm currently planning to deep bed both the coop and run; they will be built extra tall for this with cinder block lower courses. The deep bedding can then be shoveled out to "fire" a hot frame in January.
 
gardener
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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With a 2-4 ft layer of woodchips or similar the smell can be reduced almost to nothing. What happens in my coop is the poop gets covered up as the chickens root around and scratch down to find bugs. The whole thing ends up smelling like composting wood chips. That said, at dawn there are droppings on the surface so more smell is noticable, but outside the coop there is not a manure or bird smell.
 
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My biggest coop has a massive overkill amount of ventilation and a clear roof and deep bedding. It doesn't smell at all. The bedding is always bone dry. I think the dryness helps a lot. The coop is 5'x 6'x 5' and has about 30 chicken in it.
 
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