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Poop Shelf with Sweet PDZ -- The easiest way to keep a henhouse clean and ammonia free  RSS feed

 
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For folks building a new coop OR looking for ways to maximize floor space in their existing coop consider a poop shelf with sweet pdz granules. It is an easy/inexpensive mod with a lot of benefits.

As a quick example here is a pic of the roosts and shelf in my henhouse, I used the space under the poop board for a broody cage with its own little door/side run (a rooster lives there now). My coop is only 4x8 ft so the extra space comes in really handy.



Basically all you do is build a waist high shelf under the roosts to catch the poop at night, then put an inch or so of PDZ on the shelf.

Once a day you scoop the poop and dump it in a bucket (with a lid) using a litter scoop or a strainer. Then when the bucket is full dump it in your compost pile. PDZ is a non-toxic mineral dessicant, it is perfectly safe for the birds even if they eat it. Buy the granules NOT the powder (size wise the granules are like course sand).

Benefits of the shelf with pdz:
-- makes cleaning super easy, no bending over just scoop the poop once a day
-- keeps the henhouse smelling fresh and is healthier for the birds in winter (prevents ammonia buildup which can cause respiratory problems in cold weather)
-- PDZ never needs to be replaced, just add more as needed
-- saves money by making the shavings on the floor last several months, and even then they are clean enough to use as mulch without burning plants
-- maximizes floor space, the area under the shelf stays clean and is perfect for a broody cage, nest boxes, food storage, etc...

Tip -- Try to scoop the poop everyday. The birds will walk on it when they go to roost which breaks the poop into tiny pieces making it difficult to easily remove after 2-3 days.  I use a kitty litter scoop and then sometimes use a mesh strainer to clean the tiny pieces out.

And other photos:







A 25 lb bag of the granules runs $15-$20 and lasts me a year. Most feed stores can order it and some like Tractor Supply usually have it in stock:

 
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Cool stuff!  I use a poop shelf but just sprinkle pine planer shavings on it every day or two.  The birds knock it off onto the floor where it becomes part of the "deep litter".  Is PDZ a brand name or does it stand for something?
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Mike Jay wrote:Cool stuff!  I use a poop shelf but just sprinkle pine planer shavings on it every day or two.  The birds knock it off onto the floor where it becomes part of the "deep litter".  Is PDZ a brand name or does it stand for something?



I don't know what the PDZ in the name stands for, probably something like Premium Zeolite. It seems like all of the products are currently turned out by the same company.

Yeah I sometimes use pine shavings but it is more work and it always seems to smell bad -- within 2-3 days I have to dump a whole bucket of poopy pine shavings in the compost pile. With PDZ it takes weeks to fill a bucket plus it dries the poop out so fast I never notice an odor. With cold weather coming I make sure to use it as ammonia mixed with freezing temps can tear up their little lungs.

Here is their main website with lots of facts: http://www.sweetpdz.com/faq.html

Sweet PDZ is a Natural Earth Product - Premium Grade Clinoptilolite better know as zeolite.

Sweet PDZ is an all-natural, non-hazardous and non-toxic mineral. It captures, neutralizes and eliminates harmful levels of ammonia and odors.  Sweet PDZ is a far superior alternative to lime products for ammonia removal and moisture absorption. Plus, now Sweet PDZ is Organic Certified through OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute)

 
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Lucrecia, that's exactly what I did in my chicken coop when I built it in 2013. The PDZ is great.

150.jpg
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MoonShadows Chicken Coop
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Jim Guinn wrote:Lucrecia, that's exactly what I did in my chicken coop when I built it in 2013. The PDZ is great.



Guessing you did research on backyardchickens.com before you built your coop too? I think I have seen photos of your coop over there (if not yours then one just like it).

The other great tip I got from that site was using blackjack roof sealant for the floor. Four years later the floor is still as good as new.
 
Jim Guinn
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You hit the nail on the head! Yes, I am a member of BYC, although I haven't been over there in quite some time. And, yes, I used Black Jack on my coop floor. Here is a video of our coop build.



We only kept chickens for 3 years. I got tired of hawks and foxes getting them. The last straw was one night when a raccoon pried open the chicken door, got in and slaughtered a bunch of my heritage breed chickens. We gave the rest of them away. We removed their protected run and put in a garden, and we turned the coop into a garden storage shed....but, that Black Jack is still going strong!





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Black Jack Rubr-Coat 57
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The old run as a new garden and the old coop as a garden shed
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Jim Guinn wrote:
We only kept chickens for 3 years. I got tired of hawks and foxes getting them. The last straw was one night when a raccoon pried open the chicken door, got in and slaughtered a bunch of my heritage breed chickens. We gave the rest of them away. We removed their protected run and put in a garden, and we turned the coop into a garden storage shed....but, that Black Jack is still going strong!



Ahhh...its a shame you stopped keeping them. That coop looks like Fort Knox so I am surprised you had a problem with predators.
 
Jim Guinn
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For the first year, I only let the chickens access their protected run. The second year I started letting them free range. That is when I started having problems with hawks and foxes when the chickens would venture out into the field. So, I fenced in a very large area outside their protected run for them to free range. It had a lot of shrubs and bushes where they could hide. The fence kept the foxes out, and I ran fishing string every few feet above the area. (Hawks do not land vertically...they swoop in. The fishing string was enough to keep them out.) At night, the chickens would come back into their protected run and I would close the door via a long rope that was tied to my deck. Then, they would go into the coop and the electric door to the coop would close down after dusk. I had some problems with the electric door going into the coop, and before I fixed it, I just propped it open figuring the door into their run gave enough protection. Well, that's the door the raccoon pried open. Once into the run, he had easy access to the coop.

We never sold our eggs. We gave 90% of them away to friends, family and co-workers. We started to feel like we were paying for their breakfasts after a while. You know feed and other needs tends to add up. We do miss sitting on the deck and watching the chickens. At some point I will build a much smaller coop and run and just get 2-3 chickens for our needs.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Jim Guinn wrote:For the first year, I only let the chickens access their protected run. The second year I started letting them free range. That is when I started having problems with hawks and foxes when the chickens would venture out into the field. So, I fenced in a very large area outside their protected run for them to free range. It had a lot of shrubs and bushes where they could hide. The fence kept the foxes out, and I ran fishing string every few feet above the area. (Hawks do not land vertically...they swoop in. The fishing string was enough to keep them out.) At night, the chickens would come back into their protected run and I would close the door via a long rope that was tied to my deck. Then, they would go into the coop and the electric door to the coop would close down after dusk. I had some problems with the electric door going into the coop, and before I fixed it, I just propped it open figuring the door into their run gave enough protection. Well, that's the door the raccoon pried open. Once into the run, he had easy access to the coop.

We never sold our eggs. We gave 90% of them away to friends, family and co-workers. We started to feel like we were paying for their breakfasts after a while. You know feed and other needs tends to add up. We do miss sitting on the deck and watching the chickens. At some point I will build a much smaller coop and run and just get 2-3 chickens for our needs.



Yeah mine have a large (now overgrown) run with avian netting over the top. That keeps hawks out completely, and more importantly keeps the chickens from flying into the main yard that the dogs use. They only free range for a couple of hours before dusk and then the "chicken friendly" dogs are usually out with them. That keep predators away.

I feed 13 and most don't lay (older birds, three roosters, some bantams that rarely lay) so I don't give away eggs all that often.  The little OEG bantams are super cool though, they are extremely tame and social and one (my best broody) would definitely move into my house full time if she could,  but since two of my dogs are chicken killers that isn't an option. On second thought she is at least 7 or 8 now,  maybe I will bring her in the house at night when the temps drop to freezing this winter, she can sleep in a little crate for safety and have more house time.
 
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