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How To Clean Your Chicken Coop The Right Way

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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15 thoughts on “How To Clean Your Chicken Coop The Right Way”

  1. Thank you for this guide! I stated raising chicks in April of this year. They are now totally chickens! I clean their bedding out every two weeks, but have never scrubbed their coop yet. The weather is getting cooler, but still nice and sunny. Maybe this week.

      • That’s what my husband asked me. 🙂 I’ve never used a pressure washer, but I suppose it would work.

    • Thank you for this great info.
      Can one isolate the coop inside coop for the winter? Hope to move north where winter is not a roller coaster of temps.
      Thank you.

      • Yes, chicken coops can be insulated for very cold areas. I would look around for ideas from people who are in the same area where you are thinking about moving and see what they do.

    • Congratulations on the chickens! It shouldn’t take too long to clean out since they are new! I’ve noticed my coop tends to build up more the longer I have the birds.

  2. 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 10×10. 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 10×10 each?

    • 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.

  3. 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!!

    • 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.


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