Spring is in the air! We are looking forward to longer days and warmer temperatures around here! The girls are starting to pick up in their egg production and the long winter days are coming to an end.
I often get asked how many times I clean our chicken coop per year. Since we utilize the deep litter method, and thanks to Coop Recuperate™, it’s really only necessary to clean the coop twice. However, this winter, we had trouble with a pipe breaking. We have cleaned the coop 3 times since fall! Now, the pipe is fixed and we should be back to our regular cleaning schedule.
Cleaning out the coop in winter is a little more tricky! We carefully worked around the girls.
Cleaning the chicken coop is by far my least favorite part of owning backyard chickens. It’s a dirty, dusty job and something I usually sweet talk (more like bribe!) my family into helping with. Whatever works right!? This is my advice to you. We have a large coop/barn, so I usually set aside a full day to deep clean our coop. When we had a smaller coop, I set aside a half day. By the time you take everything out, scoop, scrub, spray, and dry…it takes some time!
Here are 7 Tips for Cleaning Your Coop:
Step #1 Take Everything Out…This Includes Your Chickens!
On coop cleaning day, I make sure the weather will cooperate. We usually pick a nice day with a gentle breeze if possible. This allows for good ventilation and quicker drying time. Remove everything you can from the coop starting with your chickens. I set some of the girls’ favorite treats and water out in the run and block the coop door. This lets us get to work without tripping over chickens! Remove all feeders, waterers, nesting boxes, decorations, roosting bars (if possible) and anything else that’s collected chicken dust.
Step #2 Scoop Out Dirty Bedding
This is the icky part. I HIGHLY recommend wearing a mask for this part. Grab a shovel and a shop broom and get to work. When we had a smaller coop, we scooped the bedding into a wheelbarrow. Due to the larger size of our barn, we now use the tractor! Scoop and broom all the bedding out and bring it to your compost pile. If you don’t have one, you should! Our chicken poop compost plus a new product by Strong Animals Chicken Essentials (coming soon!) makes our gardens flourish! We love it!
I recommend not putting “hot” chicken poop directly on your gardens. This high potent poop can “burn” your plants.
Step #3 Spray Out Coop with Soap and Water
We use warm soapy water and wash down every area of the coop. My husband has a pressure washer that works great. If you don’t have a pressure washer, a garden hose and nozzle works just fine.
Step #4 Dry the Coop
This is the part where you get to utilize your patience. It’s very important for your coop to dry completely before you add new bedding in! This will prevent mold and gross and unwanted bugs. When the coop is completely dry, I sprinkle Coop Recuperate on the floor and then add the new bedding. We use large flake pine shavings. After the bedding is down, I sprinkle another layer of Coop Recuperate on top. Coop Recuperate is honestly the reason I love raising backyard chickens. It’s an incredible product and I guarantee you will love it! It lengthens the life of your bedding and keeps your coop dry and smelling fresh.
Step #5 Clean All Feeders, Waterers, Roosting Bars and Nesting Boxes
We scrub our waterers multiple times a year and our feeders get a good cleaning as well. Fresh food and water are vital to a healthy flock. I always add Flock Fixer™ into their water for a few days after coop cleaning. This helps the girls settle back into a routine with a clean coop stress free. We scrub the roosting bars and nesting boxes as well.
Step # 6 Put Everything Back Into Coop
We bring everything back into the coop before we bring the flock in. That way, things are somewhat back to how they were when they reenter their home.
Step #7 Grab an Ice Cold Drink and Sit Back and Enjoy Your Clean Coop!
There are fewer things that make me more happy than when the coop cleaning chore is finished! We usually celebrate by going out for dinner or grilling and enjoying the beautiful weather. My kids celebrate by getting paid money. Haha! I couldn’t do this adventure without them, so I do whatever it takes!
Here was Doug and Jett taking care of the broken pipe!
Cleaning your chicken coop will be a messy job! But it’s necessary to keep your flock healthy and protected from unwanted disease and illness. Once you get going, it’s really not that bad. And your girls will thank you by providing you with beautiful, incredible eggs!
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady