Chickens are beautiful, friendly (most of them anyway), and wonderful birds. But they are also very messy! I feel like Pinterest chicken coops give you a false idea of how clean (or lack thereof) raising backyard chickens can be. With that said, it’s actually very important to keep a clean coop!
What’s the Best Way to Clean Your Chicken Coop?
With a clean coop, you’ll avoid unnecessary things like bugs, mold, illness, etc. I deep clean our coop 2-3 times a year and we use the deep litter method. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that Coop Recuperate is the reason I keep raising backyard chickens! Hahaha! I’m not even kidding. 🙂 Coop Recuperate helps your coop bedding stay dryer and fresher, longer. It’s a magical product that I can’t say enough about.
Part of my regular coop maintenance is cleaning out the next boxes. The girls don’t seem to mind pooping in the area where they have to lay their eggs. I don’t understand this, but it’s how they are. So, I clean out their nesting boxes once a week or every other week depending on how messy they are.
How Many Chicken Nesting Boxes Do You Need?
Most people will ask how many nesting boxes you need to have. The book answer is one nesting box per 4-6 hens. However, if you only have 4-6 hens, I’d recommend at least two. I use a nice metal rollout box that will allow for 4-5 birds at a time. I also use plastic bins that can sit two birds at a time. I have a flock of 40, so I don’t actually have enough boxes for this size of flock according to the statistics.
However, I’ve found that my chickens don’t all lay at the same time, so it’s really not necessary. You can use just about anything for a nesting box. Chickens like to be comfortable while laying, so if your flock seems on edge, make sure you provide enough boxes for them to lay. They like the nesting area to be darker and quieter, and I like them to be clean.
How I Clean My Chickens’ Nesting Boxes
For weekly maintenance, I clean out all the soiled bedding and add it to my compost pile. Have you tried the Coop to Garden product? It’s great! I highly recommend it. Then, I scrape out any poop (if there is any) and add new bedding. Then, I sprinkle Coop Recuperate in their clean nesting boxes to keep the bedding dry and fresh and it also protects the chickens from pesky flies or other yucky bugs.
To deep clean our boxes, I take them out of the coop and clean them well. Using hot, soapy water, we scrub them and rinse them. Make sure your nesting boxes are completely dry before putting them back in the coop. If you have a wood nesting box that’s attached to your wall, do the best you can with a bucket of warm, soapy water and a scrub brush! Again, let them dry completely (wood will take longer) before you add bedding back in. This will prevent mold growth.
In the past, I’ve purchased nesting herbs and flowers and the girls love those! That’s just a special treat around here though, but something fun to do every once in a while.
Keeping your nesting boxes clean will also help keep your eggs clean. I prefer to keep our eggs unwashed on the counter. If the nesting boxes are poopy and gross that’s just not possible. The eggs are usually gross as well if that’s the case. But when I keep clean bedding and boxes, the eggs are beautiful and can just sit directly in my egg basket on our counter. I love looking at the colorful eggs, and they are a fun talking piece when we have visitors over.
Whether you’re just jumping into this backyard adventure or have been at it for a long time like I have, keeping a clean coop is important. You’ll never regret the little extra work, time and effort it takes. Your flock will “pay” you in beautiful, healthy and delicious eggs for years to come.
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady