Cleaning Chicken Coops
If you have chickens on your farm or even in your backyard, you know how messy they can be! Regular cleaning and maintenance of your chickens can include cleaning droppings, replacing nesting materials, and removing dirt and discarded feathers, but it is also important to deep clean your chicken coops and runs periodically to keep your flock healthy and happy.
When tackling a deep clean, you may need additional supplies to keep yourself protected and effectively rid the area of dirt and bacteria. Below is a recommended list of supplies to consider using when you begin.
- Protective gear including rubber gloves and boots, mask, and goggles
- Rake, shovel, broom, scrub brush
- Towels or paper towels
- Tools necessary for repairs including wood, wire, caulk, hammer, nails
- Hose or power washer
TIP: Since you’ll be cleaning every nook and cranny of your coop, make sure your flock is safely secured elsewhere in your yard.
Muck It Out
After you gear up in protective clothing, gloves, and mask, it’s time to muck out your coop. Begin by removing nesting boxes, feeders and waterers, and any other removable items. For safety, clean these items with a nontoxic cleaner or DIY your own cleaner with baking soda or vinegar. You can also remove and discard old bedding at this time.
Next, use your rake and broom to remove any debris from the inside of the coop. Old bedding, food scraps, cobwebs, and droppings can all combine to create a layer of muck on the floor of the coop. Once you’ve removed as much material as you can with your rake and broom, use a hose (or power washer if you have one) to wash down the floors. For stuck-on spots, you may need to allow the water to loosen and break down dirt and debris before using your shovel to scrape them up.
Disinfect and Dry
Once you’ve removed stubborn dirt and debris, it's time to disinfect your coop. You can use a Coop Cleaner that’s designated to be safe for your flock, or create your own disinfectant spray. Avoid using bleach, which can be harsh on animals, in favor of vinegar and baking soda which are safe to use and have natural cleaning properties. In addition to the floor, apply cleaner to the walls, windows, and ceiling, using a scrub brush on any stubborn spots.
Open the door to your coop (and windows, if you have them) to allow your coop to dry fully. This step is especially important as it prevents mold and mildew from accumulating.
While your coop is drying, inspect it thoroughly for any wear and tear. You’ll want to check for any damage from pests and insects throughout the wood structures, inspect the roof for any leaks or missing shingles, assess the wear and tear on your nesting boxes, and identify areas that may need to be reinforced. Use this time to make any necessary repairs to keep your flock safe and happy.
You may consider adding a layer of Diatomaceous Earth to your coop once it has dried completely. DE is a product made of naturally occurring silica that is found in the skeletons of fossilized aquatic organisms. DE is effective in preventing ticks, fleas, mites, and other pets from making their home alongside your flock. While wearing a mask, spread a thin layer of DE over the floor of your coop paying special attention to the cracks and crevices where pests may enter.
Move Back In
Now that you’ve created a clean, safe, and secure environment for your chickens, it’s time to move them back in! Return the cleaned removable items such as feeders, waterers, and nesting boxes to their designated places. Put new bedding down to give your chickens a safe and comfortable place to lay and refill feeders and waterers. Once you’ve cleaned up your supplies, you are ready to move your chickens back in!
In addition to spot cleaning and changing bedding when needed, it’s important to do a thorough deep clean of your coop a few times a year for sanitation and safety. If you begin to notice your coop smells of ammonia or you begin to get a buildup of soiled bedding, it may be time to do a deep clean once more!