Poop or droppings boards or trays are simply poop catchers for the chicken coop to make cleaning easier.
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If you have ever raised chickens at home or at a farm, you know just how much they eat, and subsequently poop.
Below: Just one night of chicken poop in the coop.
Chickens dump a lot of manure over the course of a day as well as when they roost overnight along with stray feathers. So cleaning out their coops and dropping boards or trays require some serious elbow grease.
If you tired of scraping chicken poop off various bits of your chicken coop, have you considered dropping boards or trays to make your life and coop cleaning that bit easier?
Do chickens poop in their coop?
Yes. Chickens can't control when they poop, it happens automatically as their digestive system processes their feed. This means they will poop as they walk about, wherever they are. Chickens also poop for most of the night and it is common to find piles of poop under each bird in the morning.
Poop boards catch this overnight waste meaning the coop stays cleaner for weeks longer than it normally would.
What is a droppings board or poop tray?
A dropping board is the area under your chickens’ coop, just below where they roost, that collects and contains all their droppings. Made from a variety of materials, these boards are often removable and make for easy and accessible cleaning.
Below: A diagram of a poop board from an old poultry manual.
You can also insert a dropping tray, as opposed to a box-like structure, that serves the same purpose. This is a slide out tray which you mount under your roosts and sprinkle a little dry sand in so the poop doesn't stick to the surfaces.
How do you make a dropping board?
While the most common material used to make a board is wood, you can also use different materials - from plastic to even repurposed kitchen counter tops. As long as they serve the purpose and make for easier cleaning, reduce odour and any possible fly infestation.
If you are using wooden planks to build your dropping tray, make sure you measure the dimensions of your coop accurately to fit the space under the roosts. Also keep in mind that wood will expand and contract depending on moisture and humidity, so make allowances accordingly. Make sure the board is placed halfway between the floor of the coop and the roost.
Below: A vinyl covered droppings board in a chicken coop.
Consider using clamps to hold the dropping trays firmly in place.
You do not want them to tip over or fall through, or in any way injuring your chickens. While smaller, lighter boards are easier to move, install, and clean, you’ll want them to also be sturdy and durable. Picking out the right materials will go a long way to making sure your boards are safe and strong, and even save you money in the long run.
Consider lining the boards with stick-on tiles, or vinyl or scrap linoleum tops, which makes cleaning out the dropping much easier. You can also line the trays with disposable litter that you can scrape off, without having to worry about the manure drying and caking the surface of your boards.
Ready-to-fit trays are available to purchase as well. Seedling trays work really well for this purpose and are cheap and easy to get hold of.
Cleaning out your dropping board:
The whole point of using dropping boards is to contain and restrict the surface area where your chickens poop. Their purpose is to make cleaning your chicken coop easier.
That being said, your chicken coop will still require either daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly cleaning, depending on the number of chickens you are raising. Daily cleaning is advised to best protect your chickens and ensure that they stay healthy, but weekly cleaning is perhaps the most convenient.
Invest in a scraper with a good, sturdy handle, that will help your scourge the length of the dropping boards to remove dropping and manure. Regularly clean out the litter, and replace it with a fresh layer.
Below: A layer on sand on the poop board.
It is important to completely wash, disinfect, and air-dry the boards in the sun. This can be done once every three months, or at least twice a year.
Do not use bleach or any household disinfectant to clean or disinfect the boards. Such substances may be toxic or release toxic fumes that are harmful for your chickens.
Instead, consider using vinegar which acts as a natural disinfectant. Mix half parts vinegar and water and sprinkle the liquid over the boards. Then use a scrubber to spread the solution and clean the dropping trays.
Benefits of using a dropping boards:
- They keep the coop clean, without allowing manure to pile up. They also contain the space where chickens drop manure, or what we call the splatter zone.
- They make cleaning the coop easier. You also don’t need to clean it as often, although that would be optimal.
- They also provide easy access to cleaning out the coop. Nobody wants to get on their hands and knees to scrub off caked manure off your chicken coop’s floor.
- You do not need to clean out the litter as frequently, and can consequently save time and money. Less litter in the compost pile means higher quality of nitrogen-rich manure for your garden.
- You also have the chance to examine your chickens dropping. Now why would you want to take part in that oh-so-riveting activity? Examining your chickens’ poop for any blood or unusual dropping will help you assess your chickens’ health.
- Dropping boards reduce odour and moisture which subsequently help curb flies in your coop.
How do you get chicken poop off wood?
You have to scrape it off with a metal tool or shovel which is messy and hard work.