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Removing old chicken coop. Advice?
December 2, 2012
2:03 pm
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Bee
Banty
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Hello!

We are buying an old farm house that is currently being rented.  The renters have had chickens for over a year.  We want to get rid of the coop as we won't be keeping chickens (I am allergic to eggs, we can't fathom killing chickens we raise, and we've got an infant so are concerned with possible things like salmonella), but we aren't sure the best way to do that.  The coop seems clean but does have a smell when you're near it (I don't feel like it's anything out of the norm, but having never kept chickens before so I really don't know).

My concern is that if we take down the coop & fencing...what do we do with the soil?  I've read about things (like salmonella) living in the soil.  We have dogs & a little one who will soon be playing in the yard.  What's the best way to handle the coop removal & cleanup?  Do we do a controlled burn of that area of the yard where the coop & chicken run were? The only things I could find online were to bake a small amount of soil at a time or to remove the soil all together.  My husband says why not plow it under, but that won't remove any potential bacteria or nasty critters.  Do we burn the old coop or take it to the dump?

Any advice would be appreciated.  I thought The Old Barn section of the forum was the best place for this type of question, but if not please let me know.

Thanks!

Bethany

December 2, 2012
2:48 pm
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Ross
Bel Air Maryland
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I would open a bale of straw in the coop kick it around good drop a match into it  and walk slowly back to the house, have a cup of tea and call the fire department.

December 2, 2012
2:49 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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Hello Bee/Bethany!  Welcome to the forum, and this is a fine place to make this post. These kinds of questions can really help other people too!

Chickens aren't nearly as smelly as people think they are if they are reasonably well taken care of... thing is, I don't really know what exactly to advise you.  I can say what I would do, but that may not be the correct thing for everyone.  I would not hesitate to do either option actually, (or both as long as you are sure the burning part could be done safely).   The biggest reason to NOT do a burn is the hardware and nails and such would be a bigger danger afterwards.  Nails and glass etc tend to migrate up through the soil to offer sharp pokey things to step on.

You MIGHT consider posting on Craig's List or local 'freecycle' group, that if someone wants a chicken coop, to come get it, you might get the labor done for you and the biggest portion of it hauled away for you.  There will no doubt be plenty of scrap left no matter how you do it, so a burn/a SERIOUSLY heavy magnet to clean up nails and such then plowing it under seems sensible to me.  I have a really big magnet in the basement, but I have NO idea where it came from!  lol

Having grown up and run wild and barefoot around chickens, goats, horses, cows, ducks, geese, llamas, pigs (and who knows what all I'm forgetting) I don't know what the risk of actually contracting anything from the leftover soil.  I'm really thinking just plowing the ground under would be reasonably safe.  There will always be microorganisms in the soil no matter where it's from and there isn't any way to make everything totally safe no matter how badly you want to for your baby. 

You could call your local extension office for advice, though not sure where you are so there may not be a terribly active extension office where you're at, but they will usually try to find a source to help people with this sort of questions!  Maybe have a vet send some samples to see if there's anything really scary in the soil would help set your mind at ease too. 

Sorry if I got a bit rambly on this, I was spitballing while I typed.  (highly technical term laugh(whoot) for babbling!)

Hope some of this helps!  We're all very happy to have you here and we'd love to see how things are going and hear all about it!

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 2, 2012
3:05 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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bug-eyed   Errrr..... *cough*  help  I can't actually endorse Ross's method, but if a fire should somehow get started, watch out for sharp objects in the area afterwards including glass, nails, screws and hinges. 

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 2, 2012
3:25 pm
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Bee
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Those are great ideas!  Thank you.

We are in central Idaho and the extension office isn't awesome (so I've heard), but that might be worth a phone call.  I'm hoping the renters might want to take their coop with them, but we've only just begun the process of buying the property and I thought I'd get a jump on some of this type of stuff (research & brainstorming) before we get busy with moving (and cleaning).

I think removing the coop and then having a little burn would be the way to go.  And then maybe tilling it all up.

Thanks for the advice!

~Bethany

December 2, 2012
5:15 pm
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Ross
Bel Air Maryland
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After everything is cold the hardware and sharps are easy to deal with. I would remove the glass before it can get broken It has value. Also any shed has utility after it has been cleaned.

December 3, 2012
7:53 am
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CATRAY44
By a lake in S. Michigan
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Also, to put your mind at ease, a bit, regarding salmonella- much less likeky to be found in a backyard flock then on large production farms birds.

December 3, 2012
9:13 am
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BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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You know Bee, Ross is very right, is there nothing about the shed that's worth saving for a yard storage shed?  We used an old coop for years as a storage shed, if it can be well cleaned out, there's really no reason it can't be used. 

Not all home coops are designed so they are practical for storage shed for garden equipment and such of course... that's kinda why I'm always a bit put off by some of the 'pure coop' sorts of designs that are really popular for back yard flocks these days.  If the day comes someone doesn't want chickens, at least a standard building will be useful for keeping rakes and hoes in!

A good clean out, perhaps but not necessarily with a power washer, a good airing out and a bit of paint and it could be a useful building, if it's a useful sort of building of course.  If it's not worth saving, forget all I've said of course!  laugh  

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 3, 2012
2:47 pm
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Ross
Bel Air Maryland
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many chicken houses became wood sheds.  A few years of living away from the city will teach you how much cleaner dirt is in the garden compared to the dirt on a city street.

December 3, 2012
2:52 pm
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Bee
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That's a good idea, but this property actually already has too many falling down sheds.  We're planning on taking many of them down and fixing up a couple that would be useful (for things such as wood storage and a shop).  We live in the country now and I certainly agree that soil is better than city dirt, but I have concerns about parasites that animals bring.  We have two cow dog mixes and they are fully vaccinated and get regular baths.  I know many people who's dogs only "bath" is swimming in the lake in the summer- not my style.

December 3, 2012
3:26 pm
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BuckeyeGirl
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Hey now!  My Aussie swims in the pond all year unless it's iced over!

Sitting-pretty_ms.jpgImage Enlarger

Located in N.E. Ohio

December 3, 2012
3:33 pm
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Bee
Banty
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He/She is gorgeous!  Swimming isn't a problem and our dogs don't get baths when they're swimming regularly.  I was more referring to people who's dogs roll in mud and poop all year long and smell horrible and you don't want to pet them because of how dirty they are.  I also know a house dog who never gets a bath and I have to wash my hands after petting her because of the grime that is on her coat.

December 3, 2012
10:22 pm
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FarmGrammy
NE Arkansas
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I am taking down my chicken house as well, since I just can't manage chickens now.  The coop part is open on one side completely, tin on the other sides.  There are three 8x24 runs, wired all over for hawks. And the fenced in veg garden next to it on one side will go also, although I will keep the x gates that are really pretty.. .   Don't need it for storage, and weeds just go crazy in that area since no hens are there to keep it clean.

Someone willl take off the tin and take it away for reuse.  Maybe that same person will take all the wire off and reuse it.  The posts will be pulled to use in a new fence on the other side of the property. It probably won't cost anything but lunch for the people or person working.  I may get that all started soon while it is still warm. 

If I ever decide to keep chickens again, all that will be in a different location, not right in my view out the back deck.

When all the junk is removed, I will relocate 8 blueberrybushes/trees and add some more  berry rows. And just mow the rest like it used to be.   

The view will then be straight for three acres to a row of cherry trees, then the neighbor house, and I don't mind that at all.

April 26, 2014
9:05 am
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adeelrehman
Hatchling
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April 26, 2014
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the various red mite agents are taken into account. Also if looked after, a plastic house may last as long if not longer, Chicken houses than a quality wooden house.wave

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