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Having backyard birds is fun most of the time. However, very little in life, in any part of our lives, doesn’t require some type of maintenance. And that includes backyard chickens. So, in this post, I’m going to go over the best way to clean the chicken coop.
If you have chickens, or have had chickens for quite a while, by now you’re aware that waiting for the muck to pile up isn’t the ideal way to scrub down a chicken coop. It’s an easier job on us, and healthier for the birds, if we tidy up regularly. Thus, this will be divided into daily, weekly, and monthly duties. Also, it’s important for you to wear a mask while dealing with the dust this can produce.
Best Way to Daily Clean the Chicken Coop
- At the end of each day, remove any leftover or remaining food in the feed dishes or feeders.
Allowing any remaining food to sit overnight can attract predators. Or pests and rodents. So, protect your flock, and don’t entice bugs or rodents by leaving food out. Empty out the feeders when your birds go in at night. And refill the feeders and waterers in the morning with fresh food and water.
- Toward the end of the day, before the birds settle in, scrape off the feces from the chicken coop.
Bird poop, including that of your backyard chickens, has bacteria. So each day it needs to be cleared off, with a trowel or putty knife, from dropping boards and roosts. And then it can be added to your compost, if you have one.
- Also, be sure to collect eggs.
If you have a lot of backyard chickens, this will need to be done a couple of times a day. Because if you don’t gather the eggs, they’re liable to break and make a big sticky mess when they pile up. Also, if the eggs break, the hens might eat the eggs. And then they might start breaking eggs on purpose, which is a bad habit to break.
Best Way to Weekly Clean the Chicken Coop
- Change out the nesting materials.
Whatever nesting material you use for your birds collects bacteria and ammonia. Thus, it needs to be refreshed weekly, otherwise, it could lead to health issues for your chickens.
- Disinfect waterers and feeders.
You can make a DIY solution of equal parts vinegar and water to kill bacteria. And then scrub the waterers and feeders. Though, if you have a lot of birds, you might need to do this twice a week.
- Wipe down walls and ceilings of the coop.
Spiderwebs/cobwebs and dust accumulate if not cleared away on a regular basis.
Best Way to Monthly Clean the Chicken Coop
If you remember to stay on top of the daily and weekly jobs of cleaning the coop, then the monthly tasks won’t be as difficult to handle.
- Scrub the chicken coop.
Clean the walls, doors, and ceiling with the vinegar solution. And if you have windows, use a nontoxic glass spray.
- Scrape the roosts.
Use a trowel or putty knife to scrape the excess droppings that have built up; and then disinfect with the vinegar solution.
This is a more in-depth, deep cleaning that only has to be done bi-annually. And ideally you should schedule it in the spring and fall.
- Remove old nesting material, feathers, and droppings.
Use shovels, brooms, trowels, and a putty knife to accomplish this. Once done, add what you’ve collected to your compost.
- Remove any remaining dust.
Using a hose, rinse down the coop.
- Next, wash all the surfaces.
Use a brush and your vinegar solution to cleanse and disinfect the chicken coop. Make sure you clean the nesting boxes too! Afterward, give everything a thorough rinse with the hose.
- Dry out the coop.
Try to get out as much excess water as you can. And then keep the doors (& windows, if you have them) open in order to dry out the chicken coop. If you have portable nesting boxes, put those and the feeders in the sun to dry faster.
- Spread more nesting materials in coop.
After everything is fully dried, put more nesting material in the coop and nesting boxes. Wallow out depressions in the boxes where the hens will lay, because otherwise, the hens will scratch out the material.
Things to Consider When Cleaning the Coop
I already mentioned wearing a mask when cleaning the chicken coop. This is very important, because birds carry diseases, some you’ve never even heard of. Also, you might think of wearing gloves and only shoes for out in the chicken yard. This is so you don’t bring anything into your home from the birds.
Only use natural cleaners like vinegar. And avoid anything that contains bleach, since that can be harmful to backyard chickens. Also, while you’re out cleaning their home, check to see if anything needs to be repaired. If there are sharp edges, a bird can get hurt. Or if there’s a hole in the wire, a predator could slip in.
If you have any questions or anything to add, I’d love to hear from you!