How to make a litter tray for chickens

Written by amanda richards
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How to make a litter tray for chickens
An under-roost litter tray makes for a cleaner coop. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The majority of manure build-up in a chicken barn is beneath the roosting bar. Clean-up is more effective if the roost droppings fall onto a tray filled with litter. This keeps the chickens from walking in the manure, lessens odours and reduces cleaning time in the barn. Manure on the litter tray is easy to remove with a litter box scooper before adding to the compost pile.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Plywood
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Shelving trusses (optional)
  • Unscented, clay kitty litter or sawdust

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  1. 1

    Measure the length of the roost with a measuring tape. Cut the plywood for the bottom of the tray, making it the same length as the roost. The tray should extend about 3 inches from the back of the largest chickens while they are on the roost.

  2. 2

    Cut strips of wood to serve as the lip of the tray. Screw each strip into the tray's base. Be sure the corners are tight to prevent litter from trapping or falling out.

  3. 3

    Set the tray underneath the roosting area. Screw the finished tray into the wall. Use shelving trusses if necessary and if the birds are heavy breeds. Chickens will jump and walk on the tray.

  4. 4

    Add unscented clay kitty litter or sawdust to the tray for absorption. Manure will stick and bond to an unbedded tray making it impossible to remove, and encouraging flies and odours.

Tips and warnings

  • Newspaper is hard to remove when soiled, it tears, does not prevent odours and the droppings stick to it making composting difficult. The soiled newspaper does not degrade properly. Unscented clay cat litter is odour and moisture absorbent and sifts easily. It also is an excellent composting medium. Garden lime can be used as an odour absorber.
  • Do not use scented or chemically enhanced cat litter. This is not safe to compost. Chickens will eat the clay litter making anything other than pure clay unsafe.

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