A dirty little secret (resolved)

This is where all the cool girls hang out. Due to its high traffic, this corner gets dirty quick.

This is where all the cool girls hang out. Due to its high traffic, this corner gets dirty quick.

It’s a backyard chicken keeper’s worst nightmare.

That barnyard smell.

For the first month, it was totally fine. Then one hot, muggy day, after a heavy downpour, it arrived. I had to be standing literally at or in the coop, but the smell was undeniable.

Of course, I freaked out. I worried about it getting worse, and possibly upsetting my neighbors. Trying to be helpful, Matt took a walk by the coop and said he couldn’t smell a thing.

Could it be possible I imagined the whole thing?

A couple days later, after another rain, Matt finally admitted he could smell a slight barnyard smell.

I quickly figured out that the smell went away when the sand in the run dried out. But when it rained …

As with any other dilemma, I consulted the Google Machine.

sweet-pdzI learned about proper drainage, and using pelletized lime to combat smells. Then I discovered Sweet PDZ.

Marketed as a horse stall deodorizer, I found Sweet PDZ also is safe to use in chicken coops. It works by absorbing and neutralizing ammonia in the chicken waste.

Apparently, other people had the same idea because I had trouble finding it in stock. We finally tracked down a bag at a Tractor Supply Co. about an hour’s drive away.

By the time we returned, I was anxious to see if this stuff works.

I had already gotten into a routine of scooping out the chicken poop on a daily basis. So I started with a light cleanup, including of the bazillion feathers the girls shed each week.

initial-cleanThe PDZ directions said to use 6 cups on the first application, then 1-3 cups for maintenance. So I used a coffee mug to spread six cups of the powder on top of the freshly cleaned coop sand. Next, I used a metal rake to mix it into the sand.

apply-pdzBy the next time I went out for a visit, I could tell a difference.

But the big test was with the next rainstorm, which came a couple days later. It was a huge storm, that splashed lots of water into the coop sand.

And when I went out to take a big sniff?

It smelled like heaven.

What are you talking about? Our poop smells like flowers!

What are you talking about? Our poop smells like flowers!

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