I was recently asked “how often do you clean out the chicken coop?”
Well, the answer can vary, depending on:
- how many chickens you have
- where the nesting boxes are compared to the roost area
- how much time the chickens spend inside the coop
- where do you keep their food and water
- the time of year (think winter deep layering method)
Although not on a scheduled cleaning routine, I tend to clean our coop ‘as needed’. I check the coop daily and fluff the straw or add new, as needed.
When we designed our coop, we made sure that the nesting boxes were not located directly under the roosts. Most poo dropping appear directly under the roosting areas. If that’s where the nesting boxes are then that area will continually be soiled and the eggs laid in those boxes will tend to be soiled also.
Our chickens spend most of their time outside. They typically go inside to roost and lay their eggs. We do not put food or water inside the coop. Even in the winter, the chicken’s food and water are located outside the coop. Keeping these containers out of the coop helps to keep insects, predators, and even unnecessary moisture out of the coop, hence creating an overall healthier environment for our ladies.
During the first two years of having our first flock of chickens, I will admit that I did not ‘deep clean’ the coop at all. But, before we implemented the flock rotation, I did a thorough deep clean. I used things I had on hand, no harsh chemicals.
Here’s a break down of what I did:
- I cleaned out all of the straw
- I swept everything – ceiling, walls, floors
- I scraped where it was needed – roosts, walls, floors
- I used a mixture of (equal parts) water and vinegar to help loosen what need extra scraping
- I used the water/vinegar mixture to spray everywhere inside the coop
- I left the door open to the coop, airing it out for 24 hours
- I added new straw
Then I added my new flock of chickens, who quickly got to work making it their ‘own’ by scratching the straw around to just the way they liked it.