Raising chickens is a great way to get plenty of fresh, organic eggs. However, you may be aware of how much poop one chicken can make in a day. So, how do you stop chickens from pooping everywhere and on everything?
When chickens are left to roam free in your yard, they are going to poop everywhere they wander – the porch, the yard, on your lawn furniture. The best way to deal with it is to keep them out of areas you don’t want poop or to regularly scoop and hose it down.
Keep reading to learn more about why your chickens may be frequently pooping and how to stop them from using your outdoor space as a bathroom!
- Free-roaming chickens are more likely to poop in many different areas compared to chickens that are contained.
- There are various ways to encourage chickens to poop in specific areas, keeping other areas like decks and patios clean.
- Provide your chickens with designated areas to contain the manure in one place, and always rake or hose down the area for cleanliness.
11 Best Ways To Keep Chickens From Pooping Everywhere
It’s difficult to use your yard for barbecues, cornhole, or a social gathering place when your chicken flock is busy dropping their pellets everywhere. So, how do you stop it?
1. Reduce The Flock Size
The more birds you have, the more poop there will be. The University of Hawaii tells us that a single hen can excrete up to 130 pounds of poop each year! When you multiply that by, say, ten chickens, you’re looking at around 1,300 pounds of miniature landmines in your yard!
When raising free-range chickens, you should have at least three, simply for the fact that they like to flock together. If you have a small yard, fewer chickens might be better. If you are raising chickens in the city and you only have a very small tract of land, you might need to thin the flock.
It’s recommended to have at least 250 to 300 square feet of free-range space per chicken. For just three chickens your yard should be about 30’ by 30’. If you don’t have enough space for your chickens to run, maybe it’s time to reduce the flock size.
2. Set Up A Chicken Enrichment Area
Another way to keep chickens from pooping on everything is to have a dedicated space where your chickens want to hang out a majority of the time. Find a place where you don’t mind the chickens messing up the yard because it’s what they do.
- Scratch areas: Chickens like to scratch to look for insects, so setting out leaves, grass clippings, pine bark, or other small things they can scratch around and explore will keep them and their poop out of the way for a little while.
- Toys: In the same area, hang some toys like Woiworco 4 Packs Chicken Toys for Coop. This comes with several toys to keep chickens interested and hold their attention. Put some of their favorite foods on the vegetable hanging feeder to keep them pecking at that for some time.
- Dust bath areas: Chickens love to take dirt/dust baths. They get into the dry dirt and flip it all over their feathers to help remove parasites. Set up a handful of shallow pits with soft, loose dirt where they can dirt bathe at their leisure. Or, use Lixit Chicken Dust Bath in a shallow box and place it in the enrichment area.
- Food and water: Setting their food and water out in this area will also keep them exploring the enrichment area as well. The longer they all stay in the “playground” the less time they are walking around where their poop is not welcomed.
Sometimes chickens treat areas as enrichment when they really shouldn’t – like flower beds with mulch! If your chickens are destroying your mulch beds, head over to our article on the best ways to keep chickens away from mulch.
3. Scoop The Poop Or Hose It Down
Chicken poop is a wonderful fertilizer, especially for plants that need a lot of nitrogen. It’s important to note that you can’t just scoop chicken poo and put it in your garden – it’s likely to burn your plants. Instead, chicken manure should be aged for one year before use or thrown in a composter.
You can also hose down the chicken poop which will help to wash it away and makes it decompose faster. The hose can also be used to run your chickens away from areas you don’t want them in. But chickens are tenacious if nothing else. Once the hose is put away, they’ll return like a mindless zombie hoard.
4. Chicken Diapers
I can’t believe it’s a thing either, but it is! Yes, there are chicken diapers. While they might be good for a few laughs, they’ll keep chicken poop off your walkways, driveways, and welcome mats.
You can check out these MANON ROSA Chicken Diapers to see if they’d be a good fit. If you only have a few chickens this could be an efficient way to keep them from dropping their loads everywhere.
Most are washable so you won’t be throwing away hundreds of bulging chicken diapers into already bulging landfills. I guess it depends on how badly you want to control the chicken poop.
5. Erect A Barrier
If there is an area sectioned off for human activities like a patio, kid’s play area, or a deck where chickens are constantly invading, set up a fence to keep them out or to keep them in a certain area. DOLEMODUO 15 Gauge Vinyl-Coated Hardware Cloth is an excellent material to construct a fence.
So, how high should the fence be? Here’s an overview of how high different chicken breeds can fly:
Clipping their wings will also help deter them from jumping over fences.
Chickens don’t typically range far from their roost, especially if they have everything they need, so fencing a ranging area off will likely keep the chickens from attempting a jailbreak. You can read about how to build a chicken-proof fence here.
6. Reduce Range Time
Instead of letting your chickens run around all day long dropping their little poop pellets everywhere, shorten the free-range time. This is especially effective if you have a larger-sized coop with more space for your chickens.
The shortened range time gives you time to clean up the poop, rake it away, or spray it away, and of course, you’ll have less poop everywhere if they aren’t out as much.
By the way, if you don’t own chickens but are finding chicken droppings on your property, you can reach out to a pest control specialist through our nationwide pest control finder to figure out how to keep them off your lawn.
7. Use Scent Deterrents
Several scents are strong enough to keep chickens away because of the intense smell. You can use spices such as cayenne, paprika, curry powder, black pepper, or cinnamon to deter chickens. Sprinkle the spices around areas you want to keep chickens away from, and reapply at least once a week to keep the scent strong.
Another way to deter chickens with scents is to repurpose your citrus peels. Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit help to send the message to the chickens that they aren’t welcome in certain areas. Take the discarded peels and lay them out to create a citrus defense area to shoo the chickens away.
You could also grow pungent herbs or annual flowers that chickens don’t like. These plants include:
- Lemon Balm
These herbs and annuals give off strong scents that chickens tend to not like. With strategic placement of these scents, you can create a striking landscape and keep chickens and their incessant poop far away. We have a detailed guide on the scents that chickens hate here!
8. Use Predator Decoys
Another way to keep chickens away from certain areas is to use predator decoys. Owls and hawks are natural chicken predators. There are plenty of lifelike-looking birds of prey that you can set about your property where you don’t want chicken poop.
When chickens see them, they will run in the opposite direction. Chickens are smart animals though, so if the decoys are always in the same position, never moving, the chickens will realize there is no danger and then completely ignore them.
To keep the marauding poop factories on their toes, you should move the decoys periodically. About once a week should be good, but more often is even better. Owlsome Red Solar Owl has flashing eyes, a rotating head, and emits hooting sounds for a realistic predator decoy.
For a more detailed look at scare tactics, take a look at our piece on the things that easily scare chickens.
9. Motion-Activated Sprinklers
Another wonderfully effective yet humane way to keep chickens away from certain areas is by using a motion-activated sprinkler system. The Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler will relentlessly keep chickens away from wherever you set it up.
It sprays a harmless jet of water at the chickens, keeping them from using certain areas as their personal bathroom. As a bonus, this will keep other critters like raccoons, opossums, deer, and rabbits away as well!
Sprinklers are just one of many ways to keep chickens away from areas without needing to set up a clunky fence. For a full list, check out our article on the best ways to keep chickens out of gardens without fencing.
10. Provide An Elevated Roost Area
Maybe one of the reasons chickens like to hang out on the porch, jungle gym, and deck railing is because they like to get up high and look down upon the world. Chickens can be haughty like that.
Aside from giving you that entitled “stink eye” from up high, chickens like to stay elevated to watch out for predators. They also feel safer when they are up off the ground. By providing a high roosting point for your chickens, they will be less likely to congregate in areas where people hang out.
Petamore Chicken ROOSTING Bars provide four sets of roosting bars, with the highest reaching 57″ tall. This is an excellent option to encourage chickens to roost away from your porch.
You may have to train your chickens to perch away from your porch or railing. To do this, put the perch close to where they have been hanging out. As they start using the new perch, move it in increments to the area you want them to be.
11. Make Or Use A Mobile Coop
If none of the above options work or sound feasible to you, we have one more suggestion. To keep the poop contained but still let your chickens graze in the grass, you could get a mobile chicken run or coop.
The chickens and their poop stay contained in a small area. When you move it the next time you can clean up the area they pooped in or spread it out to help the soil and add a little all-natural fertilizer. If you’re worried about predators getting to your chickens in their mobile coop, read about when foxes hunt chickens to keep them safe.
This way, the chickens get to graze and snack on bugs and grubs in the area, and the poop isn’t scattered from one corner of your yard to the other. GUTINNEEN Mobile Chicken Coop can house up to 5 chickens and the convenient handle and wheels make it easy to move from one place to another.
And don’t worry, even if your chickens get out of their mobile coop, they’re not likely to run away. If you’re wondering why, you can read our article on the reasons why chickens won’t fly or run away.
We hope this has given you the ideas and tools necessary to stop chickens from pooping everywhere. You won’t be able to physically stop the poop factory, but you can reduce the areas that they roam, in essence stopping them from dropping their unwanted packages all over.
To sum things up, here are the 11 best ways to prevent chickens from making your space their personal bathroom:
- Reduce the flock size
- Set up chicken enrichment areas
- Scoop or hose down the poop
- Use chicken diapers
- Build a fence or barrier
- Reduce range time
- Use scent deterrents
- Use predator decoys
- Utilize motion-activated sprinklers
- Provide elevated roosting areas
- Use a mobile chicken coop
Keeping chicken poop away may require more than one technique listed here. Chickens are only doing what chickens will do naturally, but sometimes they need to be reminded where they are allowed to go. Until they are properly trained, it will take vigilance and consistency to keep them away.
If you’re interested, you can check out our article that contains incredible facts about chickens to learn more about these wonderful birds!
Ali, A B A et al. “Nighttime roosting substrate type and height among 4 strains of laying hens in an aviary system1.” Poultry science vol. 98,5 (2019): 1935-1946.
Campbell, D L M et al. “Perch use by laying hens in a commercial aviary.” Poultry science vol. 95,8 (2016): 1736-42.
Dikinya, O., & Mufwanzala, N. (2010). Chicken manure-enhanced soil fertility and productivity: Effects of application rates. Journal of soil science and environmental management, 1(3), 46-54.
Kilarski, Barbara. Keep chickens!: Tending small flocks in cities, suburbs, and other small spaces. Storey Publishing, 2003
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