Chicken Coops are to the chicken like your home is to you. Chickens make great pets, and chicken keeping is quickly becoming a popular hobby even within city limits. As with any pet, chickens require upkeep and maintenance. Part of this maintenance is keeping the chicken coop clean. The amount of “home cleaning”, frequency of cleaning, and required upkeep of the coop will depend on the size of the coop, number of chickens, and the lifestyle of the flock. Free range chickens that only use the coop at night will require less cleaning than those that spend all day and night in the coop.
Daily Cleanup of the Chicken Coop
Daily “home cleaning” of the chicken coop is essential for urban settings and should be done daily. City chickens need to be kept a little cleaner than their country counterparts. Your neighbors will appreciate it! Daily “home cleaning” will drastically reduce odor, flies, and disease. This cleanup should be quick and relatively painless. It mostly involves removing the chicken droppings and disposing of them. Using a fine shaving in the coop will make this cleanup easier. You can think of it like a cat litter box and can even use a litter scoop to do the cleaning!
Deep Cleaning of the Chicken Coop
Occasionally your chicken coop will require a deep scrubbing. Your pet chickens live in the coop every single day and deserve a clean environment. Also, if you are collecting eggs to consume, you’ll want a clean coop for your food. Depending on the size of the coop and the size of your flock, this deep cleaning will vary from monthly to annually. If you perform the daily cleanup, the periodic deep cleaning of your chicken coop will be much easier. Even if you clean every day, the coop will need a good scrubbing from time to time.
You’ll need a few essential tools and supplies. You can use bleach, but I am not a big fan of bleach. Instead substitute plain old white vinegar. Amazing right? You’ll also need a shovel or a rake. For your own health and hygiene, I recommend rubber garden gloves and potentially a mask if your coop hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Okay—now it is time to get to work.
Shovel out all of old chicken droppings, shavings, and feathers. This step is the most important step. Your coop won’t be clean if there is any debris keeping the vinegar from penetrating. Use a square shovel and put some elbow grease into it. Bonus—you get in a great workout.
Get out a hose. Blast the entire coop (walls, floors, roosts, and nesting boxes). Remove all of the gunk that has built up over time. If you have a pressure washer, this will go a lot faster and be much more effective than a garden hose.
Hit it with the Vinegar. After you’ve gotten as much as you possibly can removed from the coop it is time to sanitize. You can take a bucket and mix half vinegar and half water. Throw some on every surface and scrub! For the floors and walls you can scrub with a broom. For the nesting boxes you might need to get a scrubbing pad or just use an old rag.
Perform a final rinse. Try to get as much as the vinegar solution back out of the coop. Sweep as much water out of the coop as you can and allow the coop to dry out by opening all of the windows and doors.
Add in your fresh bedding once everything is dry. Using fine shavings as mentioned above will make your next cleaning easier. For a nice smell that your chickens (and you) will appreciate, mix in some fresh herbs to the nesting boxes.
Lastly, put the chickens back in the coop and say “You’re Welcome!”
It is important that you sanitize and disinfect the chicken coop before you add new chickens to your flock, especially if they are chicks. Young chicks are susceptible to diseases that your old flock might have been carrying.
Check out your local feed store if you are having a fly problem. There are special sprays safe for use in the chicken coop to help control these pests.
Ventilation is important for your chicken coop. The sunlight acts as a disinfectant and fresh air will help with odors. The chickens like fresh air too!
Keep the nesting boxes clean and inspected. Always be careful when collecting the eggs as snakes have been known to come in for a special treat.