How do I make chicken pens smell better & not stink?

Written by ricky andromeda
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How do I make chicken pens smell better & not stink?
Replace bedding, food and water regularly to keep chicken pens odour-free. (chicken image by Pity from

You don't have to be a farmer to have chickens. Chickens provide eggs, meat and serve as pets for people on farms, in houses and even in some apartments. The worst part about keeping chickens is dealing with the odour of the chicken pen, which quickly fills up with fecal matter, feathers and soil. With a little work, it's relatively easy to keep a chicken pen looking good and not smelling like, well, a chicken pen.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood shavings
  • Feeder
  • Plastic water container

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  1. 1

    Provide enough space in the pen for the number of chickens you have. For medium-sized chickens like laying hens, you need at least 8 square feet per chicken so the pen doesn't get overcrowded.

  2. 2

    Cut down on water in the pen. Check the roof and entrances for leaks and seal them up to prevent water from getting the pen damp and stinking.

  3. 3

    Lay down wood shavings for bedding and floor covering. Change it once a week or as needed to eliminate residual smells from fecal matter, dampness and rotten food.

  4. 4

    Clean the water and food trays every few days to prevent mould from building up and smelling bad. Use plastic bins and never throw feed on the ground because it rots much more quickly than in a container.

  5. 5

    Ventilate your chicken pen so that air can travel in and out. If your pen only has a very small opening, cut holes and cover them with chicken wire so that air can circulate better and cut back on odour. If a chicken pen smells bad, it's not only unpleasant; it can be dangerous to the chickens that live there.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with different pen designs for best results.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean chicken pens, as it can hurt their respiratory systems.
  • There will always be some smell, so don't worry if you can't get rid of slight odours.

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