Why Are My Week Old Chicks’ Poops Stinking So Bad?
One of the things that caught my attention is the smell of the poop of week old chicks. It is so pungent to the point that I have to clean their bedding thoroughly every day. But why do their poops stink so bad?
In this article, I will share some insights into why week old chicks’ poop smells so bad and how to manage it.
Why Do Week Old Chicks’ Poop Stink So Bad?
Chick poop can be quite potent, especially in week old chicks. This is due to the high levels of ammonia present in their feces, which is a byproduct of the breakdown of uric acid. Ammonia has a strong odor that can be irritating to both humans and chickens alike.
In addition to the high levels of ammonia, the small space in which the chicks are kept also contributes to the intensity of the smell. When the chicks are confined in a small brooder or tote with little or no bedding, the poop is concentrated in a small area, making the smell much more noticeable.
It is important to note that the odor from chick poop can be harmful to their respiratory health. Therefore, proper ventilation and maintaining a clean living environment is crucial for the chicks’ health and well-being. Providing a deep layer of bedding such as pine shavings and changing it frequently can help to absorb the odor and keep the chicks’ living space clean. Using lime at the bottom of the brooder and placing a dish under the waterer to keep it elevated can also help to reduce the smell.
How to Manage the Smell of Week Old Chicks’ Poop?
Use Pine Shavings
One of the best and most effective ways to manage the strong smell of week old chicks’ poop is by using pine shavings as bedding. Pine shavings have been proven to be incredibly effective in reducing the strong, pungent smell of ammonia that comes from chick poop. This is because pine shavings have natural oils that help to absorb moisture, which in turn helps to reduce the smell of ammonia.
However, it’s important to note that not all types of wood shavings are suitable for use as bedding for chicks. Cedar shavings, for instance, can be toxic to chicks and should be avoided. Pine shavings, on the other hand, are a safe and healthy option for chicks.
When using pine shavings as bedding, it’s recommended to use a thick layer of about 3 inches. This provides adequate absorption and coverage for the chick poop, which is essential in managing the strong odor. Additionally, the pine shavings should be mixed around daily to prevent the chicks from walking through their poop and spreading the smell around.
Change the Bedding Regularly
Regularly changing the bedding is an effective way to manage the smell of week old chicks’ poop. When the bedding is soiled, the ammonia levels increase, making the smell even more potent. The frequency of changing the bedding will depend on the number of chicks and the size of the brooder. For example, if you have many chicks in a small brooder, you may need to change the bedding every 2-3 days.
To change the bedding, remove all the soiled shavings and dispose of them. Then, add fresh pine shavings to the brooder, ensuring that the layer is about 3 inches thick. It’s important to note that you should avoid using cedar shavings as they can be toxic to chicks.
Regularly cleaning the water and food containers is also important to reduce the smell of week old chicks’ poop. When they poop in the water, it can become even more smelly, so it’s essential to keep the water clean. Use a dish to keep the water about 1 inch off the pine shavings to prevent it from getting contaminated.
In addition to changing the bedding and cleaning the water and food containers, it’s important to mix the shavings around every day. This helps to prevent the chicks from walking through their poop, which can lead to an increase in the smell. By doing a complete bedding change every 3-5 days, you can keep the smell under control and create a healthier environment for the chicks.
Use Pellet Bedding
Using pellet bedding is an excellent way to reduce the smell of week old chicks’ poop. Pellet bedding is made from compressed sawdust, which has high absorption capabilities, making it more effective in reducing the smell of ammonia in the brooder. Additionally, pellet bedding is more compact than shavings, making it easier to clean and manage.
The pellets come in small, compressed pieces that expand when they come in contact with moisture, absorbing it and forming clumps that can be easily scooped out. As a result, the bedding can stay cleaner for longer, reducing the frequency of bedding changes.
Provide Adequate Space
Providing enough space is not only essential for managing the smell of week old chicks’ poop but also for the overall health and well-being of the chicks. When chicks are overcrowded, they can become stressed, leading to health problems and even death. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that each chick has enough space to move around, stretch, and exercise.
When chicks have adequate space, their poop is more spread out, making it less concentrated in one area. This makes it easier for the bedding to absorb and manage the smell. Additionally, providing adequate space ensures that the chicks are not walking in their own poop, which can lead to the spread of diseases and infections.
It’s important to note that as the chicks grow, they will need more space. Therefore, it’s necessary to plan ahead and ensure that there is enough space for them to grow and move around comfortably. This can be achieved by increasing the size of the brooder or moving the chicks to a larger space, such as a coop or run, as they mature.
Lime is a natural and effective way to reduce the smell of week old chicks’ poop. It is an alkaline substance that can neutralize the acidity of the poop and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. When you sprinkle a thin layer of lime on the bottom of the brooder before adding shavings, it can help to absorb moisture and reduce the smell of ammonia in the poop.
It’s essential to use caution when using lime and not to overuse it. A thin layer is sufficient, as too much lime can be harmful to the chicks. Lime can also be added to the shavings when changing the bedding to further reduce the smell. Additionally, it’s important to wear gloves and a mask when handling lime to protect your skin and respiratory system.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why does the poop of week old chicks smell so bad? Week old chicks’ poop contains high levels of ammonia due to the breakdown of uric acid, and the small space in which the chicks are kept also contributes to the intensity of the smell.
- Is the smell of week old chicks’ poop harmful to humans? The odor from chick poop can be harmful to both humans and chickens’ respiratory health, so it’s important to maintain a clean living environment.
- How can I manage the smell of week old chicks’ poop? You can use pine shavings or pellet bedding to reduce the smell of ammonia, change the bedding regularly, clean the water and food containers frequently, and provide adequate space for the chicks.
- Can I use any type of wood shavings as bedding for week old chicks? No, not all types of wood shavings are suitable for use as bedding for chicks. Cedar shavings, for instance, can be toxic to chicks and should be avoided. Pine shavings are a safe and healthy option for chicks.
- How often should I change the bedding for week old chicks? The frequency of changing the bedding will depend on the number of chicks and the size of the brooder. For example, if you have many chicks in a small brooder, you may need to change the bedding every 2-3 days. It’s important to change the bedding regularly to manage the smell of week old chicks’ poop.
Week old chicks’ poop can be incredibly smelly due to high levels of ammonia. However, by using pine or cedar shavings, regularly changing the bedding, providing adequate space, using pellet bedding, and lime, you can manage the smell of their poop.
Remember, chick poop has a high level of ammonia, which can be harmful to both humans and chickens. Therefore, it’s essential to keep their living space clean and odor-free to maintain their health and well-being.