Coop Cleaning 101:
The most important role in chicken keeping is to protect yourself while also protecting your flock. Coop cleaning safely is a must! Poultry, such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys can carry Salmonella among other harmful bacteria. You can easily protect yourself and your home with a pair gloves and rubber boots that you only use in the coop and never wear in the house. The right gear will keep both your coop and your home clean.
- Face Mask/respirator
- Rubber boots
- Safety Glasses
- Rain jacket and pants
Coop cleaning supplies:
- Scrapers handheld and floor models
- Pressure washer
- Clean Bedding
- Junk rags (throwaways)
A clean coop is a healthy coop!
How you clean your coop and what you wear matter. But so does how often. If possible, you should clean out your coop/s weekly. Waterers and feeders should be cleaned with bleach (no more than a 5% solution) weekly as well. However, duck waterers and feeders will need to be cleaned daily. Ducks are simply messy eaters who constantly contaminate their water with their feed.
Scrape the roosting bars monthly to keep manure from piling up. Add clean bedding regularly to both laying boxes and the floor of the coop. If you have an ill chicken or are in the midst of a muddy season, bedding may need to be replaced daily.
Deep-clean, semi-annual sanitization sessions are a great idea. Consider it spring and fall cleaning of the coop. Get out your rain gear ‘cause this is gonna get messy! When I deep-clean, I remove everything from the coop and pressure wash all the roosts, nesting boxes, walls, floors, and even the ceiling. Then bleaching all possible surfaces to kill as many germs as possible. (Now be careful! Everything is wet and slippery; don’t fall and make an already poopy task poopier, “pun intended”.)
Ok, everything is all cleaned, now what? Once the coop is all dry I place calcium carbonate (agricultural lime or gardening lime) and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on the floor to deal with odors and keep down mites. I also apply DE at the bottom of the nesting boxes before I replace the bedding. Hang the clean roost bars and BAM a sparkling clean coop you shall have.
Carrie Miller has a do-it yourself website/blog that is full of fun chicken projects. Her family is raising all-natural chickens with no antibiotics, no medications and no pesticides in Kinsman, Ohio. You can find her at Miller Micro Farm or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter
I have been using DE at the bottom of my chicken coop, but I read that it can cause respiratory problems in the flock. Have you found that to be true?
DE isn’t terribly dusty, and if you’re using it underneath bedding in the coop, your birds should be fine. Make sure that the coop has good ventilation.
While it may not be right for you it does work for us. We place large barn fans in front of the opened coop on a nice hot day and everything is dry within a few hours. In six years we have never had a mold issue. However, I do understand your fear. Have a great day!
I would never use a power washer to clean a chicken coop ! Think about it… When would it get dry enough to let the chickens back in before it got MOLDY. I have 20 chickens and clean them every 5days and use pine shavings for bedding. Never had a problem with bad smell or flies. Power washers use way too much water and if you are using one your not keeping those girls clean. Clean them often , sprinkle some diatamatious earth for worm and insect larvae and lime to keep it smelling sweet ! Clean chickens are happy and HEALTHY chickens.. No water in the coop it will get moldy and then YOU WILL have problems!
I have a brand new coop. I had linoleum glued to the floor. Then I put wood shavings about 4-6 inches down. Do I still need diatematious earth and lime?
You can still definitely use the diatematious earth to help keep down bugs and beetles. The linoleum will make the coop easier to clean out.
Great Idea! I may just give this a shot.
I have 17 laying hens and I have tried different things to clean the area under their roost in the mornings.I had been using large plastic bin lids under the roost for awhile. I would put 4 under their roost and every morning I’d take them out and hose them down outside. It was a big chore but kept the pine bedding much cleaner. Then recently my husband came up with a BRILLIANT idea! I was very skeptical, but gave it a try. He bought some big heavy rolls of “painter’s paper” that painters use to lay on the floor to protect it. It’s about 3 ft wide and we cut sheets lengthwise to fit under the roost, 7ft long. I put a rock or brick at either end to hold it I put clean paper in there late afternoon before they roost again. In the morning I go out and simply roll it up in about 30 seconds and throw it in a trash bag. I’m so thrilled I no longer have to hose down those lids every morning! And their bedding stays very clean underneath. yaaay!!
wow Im going to do this…thanks for sharing!
I wonder if that painters paper is also something one could add to the compost pile afterward or could use on top of your garden to keep down weeds ( while allowing the rains to wash in the free chicken manure fertilizer to the plants as well ) rather then losing valuable free fertilizer and adding another nonreyclable plastic bag to a landfill?
Really ,paper rolls , must be a new be at this . Throw chick poop in the trash ??? City Farmer , do you use potty pads for your dogs ??? Please compost the chicken manure or give it away , it makes the most Beautiful fertilizer ever.. !