How to Clean a Chicken Coop
A clean coop is important for the health of your chickens. Not only does it create a better atmosphere for your chickens to lay eggs, but it also lowers the risk of illness for all parties involved. Whether you clean your coop on a regular basis or not, here is a quick guide on how to properly clean a chicken coop.
The first step in cleaning a chicken coop is to remove all the dirt, manure, shavings, feathers, and cobwebs. It's best if you clean out the droppings on a regular basis as that will make this step a lot easier. A small square shovel is generally the best tool for this job, depending on the size of your coop. You can add most of these removables to your compost pile if you have one. If the bedding has not been changed in a while or looks bad, remove it as well.
Wet it Down
After the big pieces of debris are out, it's time to wet everything down. With a good spray hose in hand, water down the floors, walls, and roosting bars to get rid of anything that is stuck on hard. After everything has been sprayed, take your shovel to the areas and scrape away any loose dirt or manure. Repeat this process until the entire coop is clean. If you have an extra attachments to the coop, like waterers or feeders, it's a good idea to remove them and allow them to dry in the sun while you clean the main structure.
For the dirt and debris that will not go away, you can safely use a mixture of vinegar and water. Just combine equal parts water and white vinegar to a bucket and spray onto the problem areas. You can also use a broom to get more coverage and simply dump the bucket onto the floor. Use your shovel or a hard brush to remove the final pieces of stubborn debris. The roosting bars are a good place to clean with this method as they can get pretty nasty if not cleaned on a regular basis.
Once everything is clean, rinse the entire coop to remove any traces of the vinegar mixture. Make sure you rinse thoroughly and allow the water to properly drain before installing anything new. Do not forget to rinse out any extra attachments if you used the vinegar solution to clean them.
After the entire coop has received a good rinse, open the windows and doors and allow the unit to air dry. It's recommended to start the cleaning process in the morning on a sunny day. The sunshine will speed up the drying process and help with disinfecting surfaces—not to mention that getting a little ventilation in the coop is probably a good idea, anyway.
When the coop is dry, it's time to install fresh bedding for the chickens. This is also a good time to inspect the nesting boxes and put in fresh pine shavings and straw. After the feeders and waterers are dry, fill them up and reinstall them in the coop. Once everything is back to normal, you can invite your chickens back inside. As a special touch, you can always install some fresh herbs to the nesting boxes to keep things smelling nice for weeks to come.
Cleaning on a Schedule
Although cleaning the chicken coop takes time, there are things you can do to make it easier. You should be doing a deep clean of your coop on a regular basis, though exactly when depends on the size of your coop and how many chickens you have. Other parts of the cleaning process should be done daily, like inspecting the bedding, dropping boards, nesting boxes and roosting bars. Keeping these portions of the coop clean on a daily basis will make deep cleaning the coop a breeze.