Dropping Board For Chicken Coop (Poop Board)
As we all follow along with my chicken coop build. Next up is what they call a “dropping board”. Yep, that’s right, a poop board.
What is a dropping board?
It’s something that is supposed to make your life easier while dealing with what chickens do. Poop.
It’s a board that’s installed somewhere underneath their chicken roost.
About 75% of chicken poop happens while roosting at night
Therefore, instead of just letting that stuff land on the floor of the coop, on top of all that nice straw, hay, or pine shavings, lets catch it on the way down… On a dropping board.
Put sand or pine shavings in dropping board?
Either I suppose. The idea is to make cleanup easier. I’m going to try sand. This way we can use something like a kitty litter scoop to sift out the chicken poop. Otherwise if using shavings, we would simply change out the shavings when required. But sand sounds easier. We’ll see…
My dropping board design:
It’s not a big walk-in coop like many people seem to have ( re-purposed shed or whatever). Rather it has a 6′ x 4′ footprint (4′ tall). Because of this I had to keep the dropping board high enough so the birds can walk underneath it (15″ above the floor and 5″ below the roost).
I was considering shifting everything a bit higher for more headroom under the board. But too high and their heads while roosting may be too near the upper vents (breezes aren’t good for them during cold weather).
As you can see from the picture above (and the one below), I’ve set the board such that it can be slid towards the service door for easier cleanup access. Then slid back under the top roost.
Even though chickens will desire the highest roost, my concern is whether or not some birds may roost on the edge of the dropping board (pecking order?). Though I do have a lower roost as you can see in one of the photos. If some sleep on the edge of the dropping board, some of that poop is going to end up on the floor. We’ll see I guess.
Do any of you have a dropping board in your chicken coop? What method do you use?
Beginner’s Guide To Raising Chickens
(view on amzn)
[ Read: Chicken Coop Insulation ]
Jumbo Cat Litter Scoop (good for the sand method)
(view on amzn)
They are messy!
Am contemplating building a new coop, going to try free ranging a bunch of birds so need to build them a coop to roost in and lay in.
Have 28 candled eggs in the incubator at 20 days so should start seeing peeps soon, Have 3 sorta volunteers that are about a month and a half old from an escapee hen in the brooder coop,
Feeling like i have a mental problem, that will put me at 50 chickens give or take,,,,
And im already planning for incubating another batch!!!
Oh well, its my plan B for income evolving.
Just hope I can build a market.
I think i will make the coop moveable. 8’x6’ And 6’ at the wall line on skids So i can drag it with the tractor. Going to steal nesting boxes out of my current coop, trying to figure a way to do it with no floor and so i then move it after a few weeks to be a chicken tractor of sorts. That way im not limited to a location in case this whole experiment is a flop.
This is giving me a headache!
It’s called “Chicken math.” You stop into a store for something totally unrelated and walk out with five cute little peepers. By the end of the year you have fifty.
My chicken house is much more rudimentary. By that I mean, while very sturdy and substantially built, it has a dirt floor with a layer of shavings which are shoveled out and replaced on a regular basis. Might note also, it serves as shelter and protection at night, and a place to lay their eggs, not a full time residence (free range during the day). Never really thought of, or considered a “dropping board”, but see the wisdom in having such an addition.
Looking at your project, I do have a question. Looking at the pictures, it looks as if the “dropping board” might be next to impossible to remove from inside the confines of your coop for cleaning, at least, not without dumping the contents on the floor. Again, not questioning the design, but have you considered cutting an opening, parallel to the top of the support/slide, just a little larger than the end of the poop board so you could just slide it out the side wall? Using a skil saw to cut the rectangle opening and putting hinges on the piece cut out, would make an easy access door for removing and cleaning the board on the outside. Just an idea you might consider.
To remove the dropping board (for occasional deep cleaning) I can lift out the upper roost and remove. Then the dropping board will lift out raising one side first, then jiggered out (there’s just enough room to do it). I had thought of this during the build ;)
Anyway, there are so many ways to do a project, and curious to hear what others have done about this “poop” situation.
One year later and I’m finally getting around to putting in the poop boards. I have a hen house that is fully a walk in type. There is a center full size door. The two roosts are perpendicular to the door so I built the new slide in poop boards so that on cleaning day I can slide either board into the center where the door is and tip it down directly into a bucket for cleaning. I have yet to setup a true compost pile to be able to add the poop into, but it’s on the to do list.
My DW thinks I’m insane but my chickens have given me so much peace and happiness, over the last year and a half :-) I am however hunting a fox (again). He took (4) 5 week old ducks out in the pond. After the coop is done I’ll be building a floating Duck house that I can anchor in the middle of the pond. It never ends…..
Great information. I’ve been looking at various chicken coop ideas, and cleaning it is one of my big concerns. Your poop board is a great idea. I did see a coop where the guy used one or two of those really big metal food service trays underneath the whole coop. He slides them out to clean them. I wonder if this concept would work for something under the roost like you have (poop trays?).
I use something similar. Two trays that were used at the bottom of small dog kennels that were trashed by a neighbor. The two, side by side, cover the area under the roost. They are easily slid out and back in at cleaning time. Catches about 85% of the poop.
I can see where that poop board would keep the dropping from the floor. If they do roost on the front edge of it, they will probably be facing forward and their dropping would most likely fall on the board.
In my coop, roost is like a very wide ladder, 2 x 4 side boards and sturdy smooth branches for the perches. There’s definitely a picking order – I notice those lower on the totem pole, are also lower on the roost. My method is just letting the poop fall to the floor, on the shavings I use. I’ve got a big scoop I use to clean out, and a separate compost pile for that stuff. Aged, it’s great fertilizer for corn, and other grains and grasses. In the winter, I use the deep litter method – just keep putting fresh shavings over the old. As it breaks down, it generates some heat. Clean it all out in the spring.
Response to Kula and other potential grower producers out there:
Up to you as to how you want to market your eggs and poultry. I was buying eggs from folks at work that raised them as a hobby. While others simply took free eggs, I paid roughly $5 per each dozen because I knew where the eggs came from, they were organically raised and it was my effort to offset the price of feed + consumables.
When the farmer/ fellow worker stopped bringing in eggs because he got rid of all the chickens, I understood but the folks who got used to the semi-continuous flow of: “free eggs”. were upset.
If you were more local to me, I would buy eggs from you along with the occasional bird that is culled from your flock. My only advice from an Econ major is to not undersell your product from the start. Knowing you and the quality of work you do on and around your homestead, you are raising a premium product.
Good food and high quality eggs and meat are not easy or cheap to raise. Give yourself credit and sell to a more upscale market. ( include your labor in the cost of the finished product.). Some of us are willing to pay for that quality.
Yes, they will roost on the edges of the dropping board. They will roost on the board that is perpendicular to the dropping board. They will roost on nesting boxes, just about anything that gets them off the ground. Mostly they will line up together for warmth and protection with the lowest in the pecking order in the most vulnerable spots.
Deep litter method works well and is healthy for birds.
Don’t use sand. They will dust ‘bathe’ in it and scatter it everywhere! Just line with a single layer of newspaper and compost it with the poop on it. I actually just use a 5-inch spackle knife and scrape the poop into an old dustpan, and dump in a bucket. Age it, and use it in garden beds. Do not use poop straight into a garden bed, it can burn the plants. Age it first.
Thanks regarding the dust bath! I don’t have newspapers. But I might alternatively consider just putting some shavings and dealing with it that way. At least this will keep the coop floor relatively clean. Again, thanks for mentioning the dust bath. I’ve read about that, but had not considered they might use the poop sand for that!
Ken, I have had chickens for about a year and a half. I put fine pine sawdust under the roost poles, they like the highest ones…I start with about 2 -3 inches, and about every 2 weeks add another inch or so.. I have fiberglass sheets/flat, slick on floor so cover entire floor with light sawdust. under the nestbox fronts, i place a pile of sawdust about 8 inches deep and wide enough for 3 birds… they will use those areas for dustbathing especially when unable to go out /free range… I also have a place beside the door/at the end of roost poles.. i do a second pile of sawdust. I use these piles to dust over material under nights roost as needed and replenish the dustbathing piles.
… about every 2 months i clean it all out.. material under roost- goes to compost area, for 6 months. other is piled under roost poles… so all sawdust gets used 2 times.. once for dustbathing, second for poop containment..finer sawdust works best.. the bigger flakes not so much….
addum: my actual henhouse is 52 inches deep and 10 ft in length… roof is a little low, but the roost poles have hinges at top, and about 18 inches from bottom, so they fold against the wall for easier cleaning.. to put it back down, pull it out and set feet in place and press.nesting boxes on end, outside opening. with window above it and door opposite with screened window on it as well. feed/water is accessed thru chicken size door in dog kennel fence, covered. I keep sawdust in this area as well. They also free range for several hours each day.13 older hens the Americana are really attentive to their surroundings, we have hawks, etc.. and a fence line they often are seen running/flying for.
Always thought a bird roost should be shaped like a dowel rather than a flat surface due to the birds claws tending to curl when roosting thus giving them a more secure grip when sleeping.
But I only have my grandparents examples to go on, as I’ve personally never raised chickens.
That’s a negative. Chickens evidently prefer a flat roost. Sort of counter intuitive to what we humans might think.
Thanks, Ken always good to learn new things.
Just found this chicken topic. We use tree branches about as thick as a man’s wrist. Our chickens seem to enjoy the varying sizes and we have tons of trees to chose from.
You will want to round the edges of the roost though. No sharp edges.
Pretty cool to see you picture Ken and see that I built my roost the same way, being able to lift it up and out if needed. Love the sliding poop tray. I was thinking about Winter time and wondered what most folks with chickens do as far as letting them outside. We free range our teenage chickens now but what will they do during the winter months with possible snow/cold?
Mine don’t like to go out much when it’s cold and snowy. So they wouldn’t just be cooped up, I built them a sunroom off the main coop. I used wood from some pallets I had, and some leftover metal roofing and greenhouse plastic. It lets them go ‘outside’ enough to get some sunshine, but is warmer and no snow. They access it from their regular chicken door, and the heat it collects warms up the main coop, too.
Cover your board with old sheet vinyl, makes scraping it off a lot easier and it keeps the urine and poop from soaking into your board. Leave a short section out of the front framing board and you can easily scrape it into a bucket.
Good thought about leaving a section of framing board out…
Also, have coated the dropping board (and roosts) with two coats of spar varnish. That should be tougher than a painted surface…
Ken…just occurred to me to wonder what type of wood you used for various things inside coop?..cannot recall, but are the little darling likely to be pecking at/chewing / eating various bits of wood they roost on, have access to? Don’t know if one needs to be mindful of this? Some woods have chemical in them (natural stuff) toxic to critters, likely including little chicks/laying hens ..
Also, round off your roosting board edges, easier on their feet.
Roger that. Have rounded them all off with heavy grit sandpaper… ;)