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How To Clean Your Chicken Coop The Right Way

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Clean Your Chicken CoopYou may think how to clean your chicken coop is pretty self explanatory.  Well it is, sort of.  But the truth is that if you want to prevent diseases in your flock, discourage flies, and be invisible to the neighbors there is a better way to clean your coop than just removing all the dirty straw.  A basic clean out is absolutely necessary, but it’s important to deep clean your chicken coop once or twice a year as well.

I procrastinated cleaning the chicken coop much too long.  I meant to do it in the spring, and here it is August.  Then I finally picked a day, and guess what, it’s the hottest day of the entire year!  I got started earlier in the day and pretended it was a good thing so the coop would dry faster.  Well the coop did dry, and the birds are happily asleep in their freshly clean coop.

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The end of summer is a great time to clean your chicken coop before the birds spend a lot of time in there over the winter.  It’s also a good idea to clean it in the spring when the weather warms up and any time you notice sick chickens, or are bringing new chickens into your flock.  Even though backyard flocks are generally healthy, disease and pathogens can build up with time.  If you bring a new chicken in, it may not have the same immunity that your birds have.  It’s a good idea to remove as much disease carrying material as possible and to disinfect once in a while.

If you have noticed disease within your flock, I suggest reading The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow.  I checked it out from the library, but if yours doesn’t carry it I’ve included a referral link below.

In addition to reducing the likelihood of diseases, deep cleaning your chicken coop will also discourage flies from breeding, reduce potential bad smells, and all around make you a better neighbor.  (Don’t be that one neighbor that everyone hates!) One morning of mucking around in chicken muck is well worth it.

How To Clean Your Chicken Coop The Right Way

  1. Remove feeders, waterers, nest boxes, (Anything not anchored down)
  2. Remove old straw and compost it.
  3. Sweep all surfaces thoroughly and knock down any cobwebs.
  4. Scrape off any dry chicken droppings with a paint scraper or wire brush.  (I use one like this)
  5. Hose the entire thing down inside and out.
  6. Keep scraping anything stuck on.  Get it ALL off.
  7. Rinse it all out again
  8. Soak all surfaces in vinegar.  (Do NOT use bleach, as it can potentially interact with the ammonia in chicken manure).
  9. Leave it for twenty minutes to disinfect.
  10. Hose it all down again.
  11. Leave the coop open to air dry and get sunshine.
  12. Wash all feeders and waterers with soapy water.  You can run them through the dishwasher if they fit.
  13. Add new bedding to the floor and nest boxes once it’s dry.
  14. Replace feeders and waterers.
  15. Enjoy your happy chickens in their clean coop!

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ann SULLIVAN

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

can you wash the bowls with soap and water? or will that hurt the chickens?

Our coop is so dirty, so I can clean it up with vinegar without hurting them, right?

Reply, thanks!!

Kathryn

Saturday 18th of April 2020

Yes, their bowls can be washed with soap and water. As long as you rinse the soap off it will be fine. Vinegar is good to clean surfaces once all the solid waste and dirt has been removed.

Emily Stotter

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

Do you just spray the vinegar on all the surfaces with a spray bottle? Thank you!

Kathryn

Thursday 5th of March 2020

Yup!

airbnb clean

Thursday 14th of March 2019

Nice article you have thanks for sharing.

Katy SkipTheBag

Saturday 29th of October 2016

What surfaces do you wipe down with vinegar? The roost is the dirtiest, so I could see that, but you do walls too? Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop.

Kathryn @ Farming My Backyard

Monday 31st of October 2016

I used the vinegar on my roosts, nest boxes, floor, and part of the wall that had a stain on it. The rest of the walls didn't have anything on them so I just sprayed them down with the hose.

Judie Fairchild

Wednesday 28th of September 2016

Great article, good, sound information for a beginner and a reminder to the seasoned poultry keeper. (Or should I say Procrastenator like myself). I have a large building, all wire and each pen is 10x10. I've decided to enclose only two of the pens for winter. In the past, I've closed in the whole building. I use a heavy grade of plastic sold at a local farm store. I will have to make adjustments to doorways, lighting and feed areas. I still believe they can be warmer and not have the drafts. If you have any insight on wintering, please advise. Do you think forty hens can winter in two connected pens that are 10x10 each?

Kathryn @ Farming My Backyard

Friday 30th of September 2016

That would be about 20 square feet per chicken, so they should be fine, especially if they have plenty to do, such as scratching around in a deep litter layer, pecking at sunflower heads or things like that. I have some basic cold weather tips for chickens here.