Cleaning a chicken coop is definitely the worstpart that comes with raising chickens for most poultry owners. It's time-consuming, dirty, and smelly but you have to do it if you want healthy and happy chickens with lots of eggs. It's a task that must be done and done regularly whether you like it or not.
Are you a busy chicken keeper? Do you have a family or job that also needs your attention? Luckily for you, there are several coop-cleaning techniques you can do to turn this dreary dutyinto a fast and effective process.
How often should the coop be cleaned?
Chickens are messy. It's just how they are. This is why chicken coops need a lot of upkeep on a regular, weekly, and yearly basis. Dedicated chicken keepers make it a priority to throw away leftover food scraps and water every night, remove old manure and replace the bedding every week, and deep clean the coop once or twice a year. Keep in mind that this system may work for some but not for others. You may want to scrub your coop more often if you have a large flock of chickens since the coop will typically get dirtier. It all depends on the size of your flock. However, whether you have a lot of chickens or only a few, it's always best to regularly clean the coop to keep rodents and insects away. A clean coop will encourage your chickens to forage more, run and play, and sleep better which positively impacts their health.
Choose the right type of bedding
Poor-quality bedding can affect your chickens' well-being and the amount of time you spend cleaning the coop. After all, you're probably looking for an efficient coop-cleaning method that doesn't take hours to complete. If you want to keep your chicken coop immaculate and fresh, don't neglect the bedding! Parasites and bacteria thrive on filthy beddings. Plus, manure buildup leads to ammonia buildup which then affects the chickens' airways, lungs, and eyes. As mentioned before, the bedding should be replaced at least once a week.
So which bedding is the best? The bedding you're looking for should provide comfort for your hens to lay their eggs and have an absorption and odor control method. Straw bedding isn't hard to find and keeps chickens warm during the winter, but it lacks absorption, prone to unpleasant smells, and isn't easy to clean Shavings, on the other hand, are easy to clean, favorable for odor control, and absorbs well. Despite that, these types of beddings tend to get dusty and cause respiratory issues if too fine. Choose large flake wood shavings instead. Hemp bedding is known to be more absorbent than straw and shavings which is a great option for a quick and effective clean-up. On top of this, hemp can easily be scooped out when it's time to change the bedding.
Everything you need for a successful coop cleaning session
Besides wearing gloves, a mask, and cleaning clothes and shoes, you'll need the right equipment to make sure the cleaning process goes smoothly. Do not use cleaning products with dangerous toxins for your coop. Chickens can't handle chemicals! There are plenty of natural alternatives you can use instead, such as vinegar. Vinegar can be used as a cleaning solution since it's as powerful as cleaning agents but doesn't harm chickens at all. A shovel and a wheelbarrow facilitate the entire process of removing and carrying the bedding so you may want to invest in those if you haven't yet. Other tools you'll likely need are scrapers and brushes to properly remove dried manure and dirt from the coop. A duster could also come in handy for getting rid of cobwebs and dust on the walls and windows.
How to deep clean the coop effectively
Before you begin deep cleaning the coop, move your chickens to a safe place. Trying to clean a coop with flying chickens all around the place isn't practical. You should first take all the nesting boxes, roosting perches, feeders, drinkers, and used beddings outside. Then, scrape off old and dried droppings using your scraper. Once the place is looking a bit tidier, it's time to spray the coop with a hoseand disinfect the coop with vinegar and water. Don't forget to disinfect the nesting boxes as well. Vinegar will be your best friend when cleaning the coop. It prevents the build-up of dust, mildew, and foul odor so it's a must-have. Take your brush and vinegar solution and scour the floors and walls as clean as they can get. Spray the coop with a hose one last time, sweep the water away, and let it air dry. Once the coop is dry and the vinegar smell has diminished, you can add your chickens' new bedding. Your chickens can now enjoy their fresh clean home!
Useful coop features for a quick clean-up
There are certain coop features that make every chicken owner's life easier. For instance, dropping boards help minimize cleaning hours when placed underneath roosting perches. All you have to do is scrape all the overnight droppings into a bucket each morning. This task only takes a couple of minutes to do yet can make a big difference in keeping the bedding clean. Removable roosts are also highly favorable for those who want afast andproductive cleaning process. Simply remove the roosts, lay it on the floor, and scrub on all sides. The roosts are much easier to access when they're on the floor.
Staying on top of your daily and weekly coop maintenance really saves time in the long run. With these tips in mind, cleaning your chicken coop shouldn't be a tedious task anymore.