A clean coop is crucial to raising healthy chickens. While cleaning a coop can be a labor-intensive process, it’s crucial to disease prevention and contamination, as well as in pest and predator management.
If you’re unsure about how often to clean chicken coops and how you should clean them, this guide is for you.
We’ll talk about how to clean a chicken coop in the most effective and time-efficient way. Ready? Let’s get to it.
Benefits of a Clean Coop
Before we get down to the specifics of cleaning chicken coops, let’s first discuss the importance of a clean coop so you will begin to appreciate this seemingly tedious task.
Chicken Health and Hygiene
The best way to keep hens in tip-top shape is by keeping their home free from bacteria. Here’s the thing — adult chickens poop about every twenty minutes.
If you skip the daily cleaning routine, the risk of fecal contamination in your flock goes sky-high. Worse, you can pass on the disease-causing bacteria like salmonella to your loved ones by handling dirty chickens or simply touching the coop’s surfaces.
Disease Control and Prevention
Chicken poop is the major cause of Coccidiosis disease in laying chickens. Since it’s normal for chickens to scratch around in the dirt, their risk of contracting this disease is very high if you don’t get rid of their droppings regularly.
Pest and Rodent Control
Mites, bugs, and other parasites are common in filthy coops. Red mites, in particular, can cause restlessness and stress in chickens. It can even lead to death.
Also, you should know that rodents and snakes often end up in the chicken coop in search of food. Thus, regularly emptying and cleaning feeders and waterers is an easy way to protect your flock from these scary predators.
Lastly, a major reason why you should know how to clean chicken coops properly is to prevent them from getting smelly. Aside from getting into a fight with your neighbors, a smelly coop will surely stress you out.
What Do You Clean A Chicken Coop With?
Cleaning chicken coops is easier when you have the right tools and supplies. The following are your “best friendsâ€ when it’s cleaning time.
Rake and Shovel
You’ll benefit from both a large and a hand-held rake. You will use a shovel to move dirt as needed and fill the holes your chickens have created.
Invest in a quality metal scoop as most of your regular cleaning tasks will include scooping droppings.
Use this to clean cobwebs and dirt off the coop.
Handheld Scrub Brush
Use a short handheld brush to clean water dispensers and other hard-to-reach areas in the coop, and a long handheld brush for scrubbing the walls and ceilings.
You should never use bleach for cleaning the coop because it can poison your chickens. A good alternative to commercial cleaners is vinegar. Yes, the plain, old white vinegar. Mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water to disinfect your chicken coop.
Of course, for your safety, you should always wear a mask and gloves when cleaning the coop.
How Often to Clean Your Chicken Coop
How often should I clean my chicken coop? This is probably the most common question of many chicken owners.
As a rule of thumb, you should clean your chicken coop daily, weekly, monthly, and every six months. You should also clean as necessary, such as when there is visible dirt or debris buildup, as well as after a storm or a natural calamity.
How To Clean a Chicken Coop: Step by Step
Cleaning a coop can be a taxing task if you don’t follow certain guidelines. Follow this step-by-step guide to save time and energy while ensuring the best possible results:
How do you clean a chicken coop every day? Well, it’s easier than you think. However, you don’t want to skip any of the steps or take shortcuts, as your daily cleaning outcome can make or break your weekly or monthly tasks.
- Remove leftovers from feedboxes. Leaving food out overnight can attract pests and predators. That said, make it a habit to empty chicken feeders and water dispensers after the chickens have settled in for the night.
- Collect eggs. Okay, this is the fun part. Take freshly laid eggs from the nesting box. Crushed eggs aren’t just heart-breaking. They also add to your cleaning list.
- Clean up bird droppings. Make sure to scrape out as much of the bird droppings as you can as they tend to harden easily, making them difficult to remove at a later time. Dispose of the droppings properly or turn them into chicken manure that you can use for your backyard garden.
Aside from the droppings, take time to remove any visible dirt and loose furnishings.
All these tasks should just take you several minutes to half an hour unless you have a large coop or several coops to maintain.
The following tasks are more labor-intensive, which is fine because you only get to do them once a week.
- Clean and disinfect chicken feeders.
Using the water-vinegar solution, wipe down the feeders and waterers. Or, you can soak them in the same solution for two minutes and allow them to air dry.
- Clean and replace nesting materials.
The key to collecting clean, poop-free eggs is to keep the nesting materials clean. Plus, it also mitigates bacteria and ammonia buildup which can seriously cause health problems to your chickens.
The easiest way to keep nesting materials clean is to replace them as needed, ideally, once a week. Remove any dirty straw and replace them with fresh ones. If the hens are done laying eggs, consider blocking the boxes by wedging a piece of cardboard across the front. It’s easy and inexpensive.
- Dust the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Lastly, remove cobwebs, dust, and other debris using a cleaning brush.
At least once a month, dedicate time to sanitize your chicken coop to eliminate germs and bacteria that could endanger your hens and their eggs.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces.
Wipe down walls with cloth dipped in white vinegar and water solution.
- Scrub-clean roosting bars.
Roosting bars are where your chickens perch to sleep at night inside the coop. Over time, these bars will have hardened droppings so you should clean them as well.
Use a stiff brush or scrub to clean the roosting bars and wipe them down with your homemade disinfectant. Then, let them air-dry.Â
- Manage the bedding.
Chickens enjoy fresh bedding too. How you replace the bedding depends on the litter method you are using. Many small farmers and chicken owners use the deep litter method which involves building a compost pile of the chicken poop right on the floor of the coop.
Deep Cleaning Tasks (Bi-Annual)
As summer or winter approaches, you want to be sure that your coop is clean and weather-proof. The bi-annual cleanup is also a perfect opportunity to make some repairs or upgrades to your coop.
- Clean out the entire coop.
Use shovels, rakes, and stiff brushes to clear out hardened droppings, feathers, dirt, and nesting materials.
- Wash down the entire enclosure.
Break the hose and scrub surfaces with vinegar solution. You can take out removable structures or items, such as feeding boxes, and wash them separately. Let the coop dry completely. Otherwise, mold can easily build up.
- Inspect for holes and damage.
This is the perfect time to thoroughly examine the coop for any holes, cracks, and other forms of damage. Check if the coop already needs some upgrade. Before winter comes, consider getting heaters for your waterers if needed.
How Often To Clean Chicken Coop: Conclusion
Knowing how often to clean chicken coop is essential to keeping your flock healthy and thriving. From spending several minutes a day to a few hours weekly, monthly, and bi-annually, you can protect your chickens against varying hygiene and health-related problems.
By religiously following our step-by-step guide on how to clean chicken coops, you can save time and energy, and ensure the health and safety of your flock.