Cleaning a chicken coop is an essential task for any backyard chicken owner. Not only does it help maintain a healthy and hygienic environment for your birds, but it also helps prevent the spread of diseases and pests. Cleaning a chicken coop may seem daunting, but with the right tools and approach, it can be a relatively simple and straightforward process.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps for how to clean a chicken coop and keep your chickens happy and healthy.
How To Clean A Chicken Coop
How to clean a chicken coop will depend a little on your unique setup for your coop. The basic steps are remove the birds, remove the bedding from the coop, and replace with fresh bedding.
How often does a chicken coop need to be cleaned? This is a question we get a lot from newby chicken keeper, but the answer isn’t a simple as a lot of people think. And the truth is everyone has a different opinion on it. Some people refresh daily, some clean a chicken coop weekly, or biweekly. While others aim for monthly or every six months.
How often to clean your chicken coop is really going to depend on you and what is fitting for your farm, homestead, or backyard. As long as your birds are safe, happy, and healthy you’re fine.
If you live in the city or a suburban area you’ll want to clean your coop at least once a month, to keep your neighbors from complaining about the smell.
If you live in a more rural community you can use the deep litter method of placing 3 inches of shavings in your coop and adding more every month.
Clean your chicken coop out really well once or twice a year. You can compost all of the bedding to use next year in the garden. Once a year clean everything out of your coop and sanitize it. We like to use this homemade coop cleaning spray while cleaning out our coop because it’s all-natural.
Step By Step How To Clean A Chicken Coop
To effectively deep clean your chicken coop, here are some steps you can follow:
- Gather the necessary tools: You will need a shovel, broom, dustpan, gloves, wheelbarrow, scrub brush, a mask (this is technically optional but will help to protect your lungs while you sweep), and a cleaning solution. Make sure the cleaning solution you choose is safe for chickens and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. We use this homemade citrus vinegar cleaner to clean our coop.
- Remove all chickens: Before you start cleaning a chicken coop, make sure all chickens are removed from the coop and placed in a safe location. This isn’t a big deal if you are just refreshing your coop, but for a deep clean having them out of the way is super helpful.
- Remove all bedding: Using a shovel remove all of the bedding, manure, and debris from the coop. Dispose of this material in a compost bin or pile.
- Sweep and scrub the coop: Use a broom to sweep the floor and walls of the coop.
- Hose it down: Take a garden hose and rinse out your coop.
- Scrub: Use a cleaning solution and a scrub brush thoroughly clean the coop.
- Let the coop dry: After cleaning, let the coop air dry completely before adding new bedding.
- Add new bedding: Once the coop is dry, add fresh bedding to the floor of the coop. We like to use pine shavings for our coops. You can use other things such as straw but I’ve found it’s a pain to clean up, so unless it’s going to be very cold I avoid using straw in anything but my nesting boxes. You can also use things like coffee grounds, hemp, aspen shaving, or even paper shavings.
How often do you change chicken bedding?
Refreshing A Chicken Coop
If you are just wanting to do a quick refresh on your chicken coop, most of the the deep cleaning stuff isn’t necessary. Here you have two options:
Option one for how to clean a chicken coop: Remove the soiled bedding and toss it in the compost pile. Replace with fresh bedding and call it good.
Option two for how to clean a chicken coop: if you are short on time or the coop isn’t to bad simply add fresh bedding to the coop over the soiled bedding (if your bedding is wet I would suggest removing the old before laying down new). Remove old bedding in the nesting boxes and refresh. I refresh my nesting boxes every couple of days to keep my eggs as clean as possible.
Tips For How To Cleaning A Chicken Coop
- Use natural cleaners. Many household cleaning materials contain bleach or other harsh ingredients that can be harmful to chickens. There are some natural cleaners on the market, or keep things simple and cost-effective with a DIY mixture that’s half water and half vinegar.
- If you have roosting bars make sure you clean them every so often as well.
- While your cleaning out your chicken coop, or refreshing it take a second to scrub out your feeders and waters.
- Check for wear and tear. While cleaning the chicken coop, keep an eye out for anything that needs repair. Hens can cut themselves on sharp edges, and loose chicken wire makes it easy for predators to reach your flock.
- Once your old bedding is out, you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the floor and bottom of the nesting boxes before replacing the bedding with fresh. Here is a great article on using diatomaceous earth in your coop.
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