How to get rid of the ammonia smell in the chicken coop.

How to get rid of the ammonia smell in the chicken coop.

How to get rid of the ammonia smell in the chicken coop.

The first time I came across the smell of Ammonia was when I moved my flock from a small coop with a run to a larger coop under the deep litter system. 

I was accustomed to the smell of Ammonia in urine, but not when it comes to chickens. 

It got worse when rainwater got into the coop through the leaking roof. I woke up one morning and as I  opened the door, I was met by an acrid smell that made my eyes water. I had to go out to catch my breath. 

That unpleasant bitter pungent smell was ammonia. I was fortunate I  could run out of the coop, but my chickens can’t escape the ammonia smell as it is where they sleep.

Ammonia is not just bad for your nostrils; it can have detrimental effects on your hen’s health and egg production. 

If the odor floats into your neighbor’s compound, you may lose their goodwill towards your chicken coop, and they may take steps to get rid of the smell. 

Luckily, you can take a few steps to attain a fresh-smelling chicken coop and raise happier chickens.

What is ammonia?

Ammonia is formed when bacteria break down poultry manure. Chicken excrete contains nitrogen, and when the nitrogen becomes wet, it decomposes  and creates ammonia gas. 

The ammonia concentration in your coop is determined by its environmental conditions, such as moisture levels and high temperatures. Other factors affecting the concentration of ammonia include stocking density and ventilation.

Inspecting the coop for ammonia?

It is essential to monitor the ammonia levels in your coop all year round, but the issue tends to be more during autumn and winter. 

This is primarily due to increased moisture and poultry farmers relaxing by ventilating their coop full during the cold season. 

Unfortunately, the human nose can only detect ammonia smell at 20pmm, but ammonia becomes harmful at 5ppm (parts per million). 

When the ammonia concentration is at 20 to25 ppm in your coop, the birds are at the risk of contracting respiratory diseases such as infectious bronchitis. 

The stressful conditions may also compromise the chickens’ immune system and productivity. 

When the levels reach 50ppm, your precious flock may develop vision problems like corneal ulcers.

How to get rid of ammonia smell in the coop

While it is not possible to completely get rid of Ammonia from the coop, there are several ways of keeping it at lower levels that will not harm your chickens. These include adequate ventilation, managing litter, and the use of ammonia control products like diatomaceous earth, first Saturday lime, and Sweet PDZ. You can also make a coop refresher powder using floor and baling powder. 

Adequate ventilation

Air circulation is good because it helps keep the coop smelling fresh and also helps in keeping the litter dry. This reduces the reaction in the litter that form Ammonia Gas. 

Good ventilation also makes sure that any ammonia formed does not linger in the coop. 

Managing Litter

Decomposing matter and the chicken droppings will only water your efforts to freshen up the coop. 

Therefore ensure the chicken litter is changed regularly. On the note, remember that straw and hay don’t absorb moisture, and they encourage the growth of bacteria.

Ideally, backyard chicken farmers will have a layer of dry litter, usually 8 to 10 inches. 

This allows your flock to preen and till the substrate, thus encouraging the manure to decompose. To prevent ammonia build-up, we recommended that your litter be dry and not have too many chickens preening on a small patch of litter. 

Ammonia coop control products

There are several products available in the market that you can use to prevent a high concentration of ammonia in your coop. 

They work by reducing the pH of the litter, which then reduces the ammonia gas from the decomposing manure. 

Ensure that the coop is properly ventilated before using any litter treatment products. 

Provide should also ensure that they provide dry and deep beddings for the chicken to till.

  • Diatomaceous Earth Powder

Diatomaceous earth powder, also known as fossilized shell flour or DE, is a naturally occurring mineral dust. It is sprinkled in and around the chicken coop to control moisture and odors and prevent the accumulation of Ammonia. It is spread around the surroundings of the pen and in the crevices and cracks in the coop.

  • First Saturday Lime

First Saturday Lime is formulated using calcium hydroxide. On its own, calcium hydroxide can have severe effects on the skin. 

However, First Saturday Lime puts together all the powerful and beneficial qualities of calcium hydroxide while ensuring that its safe to handle. 

First Saturday is incredible moisture and odor control product. It dries the bacteria that cause bacteria that cause odor and moisture, thus eliminating smells in your chicken coop.

Sweet PDZ coop refresher is a natural and organic mixture that effectively absorbs moisture and neutralizes ammonia and other chicken coop odors. 

Made from zeolite, a natural mineral, sweet PDZ turns the ammonia in chicken droppings into nitrogen and potassium, leaving your coop with a fresh smell. 

You need to sprinkle the Sweeet PDZ generously in the chicken pen. 

Ensure that you cover as much surface as possible, especially in the areas with more moisture and waste accumulation.

  • DIY Ammonia Coop Refresher using flour and baking soda

Ammonia coop control products can be expensive. 

The good news is that you can make a DIY ammonia coop refresher to reduce ammonia build-up in your coop. 

You will need baking soda and flour to create the same refreshing effect of commercial coop refreshers. 

Flour is very absorbent and will work perfectly in absorbing the moisture in your chicken coop. 

On the other hand, baking powder is known for neutralizing odors and will be a satisfying solution for your smelly chicken coop.


Backyard chicken keeping is an exciting and beneficial journey, and you should enjoy it. 

Chicken coop smells are a common problem that farmers contend with. Using the tips in this post, you can quickly put this issue to an end. 

Remember that a fresh-smelling coop keeps your chicken happy and more productive.

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About James Polystead

I grew up on a small farm. My parents used to grow food and keep animals for our sustenance. They would sell the surplus to make an extra coin to supplement the income from their jobs. I am taking the same path. I have over 40 chickens for eggs and meat. I also grow vegetables in my backyard. follow me on Twitter

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