When raising chickens, it’s important to provide them with appropriate shelter. A chicken coop will do just that, protecting your chickens from predators and the elements, and allowing them to get the rest they need.
If a chicken coop is home to your chicken flock, you should make every effort to keep it as clean as possible. Here’s how:
Understand the Roost Myth
Although a lot of people insist that roosts need to be cleaned on a regular basis, most roost poles cannot be easily removed. Plus, washing them down with a hose will result in dampness and disease. Poles don’t get too much manure on them, but the bedding underneath them can get nasty. These will need to be cleaned out, but thankfully it’s easy enough to do. You can clean bedding by scooping it out, putting down dehydrated line, and then placing shaving over that. This will keep the coop dry and the smell down.
Replace Nesting Box Material
If you want your chickens to lay eggs in your coop, you need to keep their nesting boxes clean. Chickens won’t go into a nesting box that is dirty. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to clean their nesting boxes for them. Simply use a garden hoe to pull out the materials in their boxes every few days and replace it with fresh materials. Most people prefer to use a mix of hay or straw, shredded paper, and something like pine shavings or mulch.
Know How Often You Need to Clean
How often you need to clean your coop will depend on a few factors. Namely, how big your coop is, how many chickens you have, and which litter method you prefer (see below).
In most cases, though, you should clean your coop once per week. During these weekly cleanings, you should tidy things up, but you don’t need to go the extra mile. A true deep cleaning can be saved for a few times a year. When you do these deep cleans will be up to you and how much time you have on your hands. However, if your coop is starting to smell, then it’s probably time to do a deep clean.
Use the Deep Litter Method
Chickens love to poop all over their coop. This can be problematic if you don’t do anything to combat it. One way you can do this is by using what’s called the deep litter method. It involves covering the floor in the coop with pine shavings, essentially creating a compost in the coop. As chickens walk on and scratch the floor, they’ll constant aerate the compost. You can go in a couple times a year and remove the compost while replacing it with fresh shavings. This will cut down on the foul smells in your coop and make cleaning it a lot more manageable.