As we approach our girls’ first birthday, it seems time to revisit our list of chicken learnings, this time we’ll focus on the frank and dirty version. You’ve been warned. But I bet some of you were dying to know.
Ok, so about THE SMELL–one of the big questions we had before getting the chicks was how much will they smell. We’d been to farm shows and the chicken poop smell of a lot of birds is pretty intense. We were worried. Pretty worried actually!
The bottom line is, a chicken will make a really bad smelling poop about 20% of the time. I’m guessing here. It may be less. But when they let one of these special bombs go, there is NO mistaking it. They’re nasty. They’re foul. A gross brown and pretty liquidy. Nasty. But they’re not frequent. Most of the poops don’t actually smell much at all.
So, what we learned is it’s not bad! Not bad at all.
We keep our chickens pretty clean. We use sawdust which is absorbent. We use straw in the nest boxes, which they like, but when they get it on the floor, the poops stay on top, and the birds get it on their feet. Poor girls. Wood shavings is so much nicer! Kind of like clumping kitty litter. A five dollar bale of shavings will do about a month or a month and a half. Small price to pay I think.
I usually try and pick some of the poops out in the morning–the birds do a lot of their work at night–and since they don’t seem to move too much when they sleep there’s a nice little pile right below their perch in the morning. Easy. We like the girls really clean, so with some ongoing picking out, we change out the shavings entirely about once every two or three weeks. The girls really love to have clean shavings–they can take dust baths in them, and they’ll do it if they don’t have access to their afternoon sand spa.
If you are keeping chickens as pets, you should relax, with a little regular maintenance you have happy and healthy chickens. And your neighbors will never know!
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