How Often To Clean Chicken Coop

A well-maintained and clean chicken coop.

Aside from providing fresh water and food to your chickens, cleanliness is crucial to maintaining healthy and productive fowl. Failure to maintain a clean chicken coop can put their health at risk of getting an infection. 

For all you know, your chicken dies after another due to bacterial infection caused by dirty bedding and coop environments. Keeping your coop clean can prevent the spread of bacteria and increase egg production. 

Neglecting to clean the cage may cause conflict with your neighbors as the ammonia-like smell of chicken manure reaches their homes. Flies hover several meters away from your chicken farm. 

When is the Best Time to Clean the Chicken Coop?

Weekly, monthly, or quarterly cleaning of your chicken coop is vital to keep your stead free from viruses and microorganisms that cause illnesses to chickens. If you lack time to clean the coop daily, you can wash the bedding at least once a week or twice a month. There is less time you spend cleaning the bedding if it has deep layers. 

A general cleaning every six months or yearly can save time. Cultivate the habit of cleaning the coop and take it as a routine, like what you do in household chores. Your cleaning time depends on the pen size, the number of chickens, and your coop’s layout. 

Get your broom and dustpan once you see cobwebs, dust, dirty coop bedding, nesting boxes, and manure accumulating in pen. It will be easier to do the task if you do it regularly. Farm experts recommend cleaning the coop bedding at least twice or thrice a month. Clean the nesting boxes as needed. 

Benefits of Maintaining a Clean Coop

Neglecting to clean your chicken coop can lead to several problems. Besides causing misunderstandings with your neighbors, it can lead to diseases in your fowl that can be fatal. The infection may spread in the poultry house and can transmit to humans. 

Salmonella is a disease that affects the digestive tract. The bacterium spreads to the chickens when your hands directly interact with the fecal matter. You will unconsciously ingest the bacteria when touching the nose or mouth. Inhaling the smell of chicken manure can also cause headaches, sinus infections, and respiratory problems. 

Regular cleaning can take less time than cleaning it once in a blue moon as the manure accumulation becomes challenging to remove. It also eliminates common pests that make your chicken unhealthy, such as ticks, scaly mites, scaly leg mites, stick-fast fleas, and lice. 

Common diseases linked to chicken manure include salmonella, typhoid fever, sepsis, tuberculosis, sinus infection, and salmonella (campylobacter infections). If you clean the coop regularly, it requires less time to wash the eggs. You can quickly see the changes in the chicken house, like chicken droppings, as they are noticeable.  

Types & Levels of Cleaning Up

Cleaning the chicken coops is not limited to sweeping and collecting dust and litter. There are molds, mildews, and fungi lurking in the crevices of the nesting boxes and bedding you must eliminate. You are responsible for the well-being of your fowl by giving them a clean coop to keep them healthy and lay more eggs. When your chickens get sick, you and your family can get sick due to chicken manure. 

Here are the types and levels of cleaning for your chicken coop.

General Maintenance

General maintenance requires cleaning the chicken house by removing the cobwebs, dirt, dust, and chicken manure. Scrub and wash the waterer, feeder, nesting boxes, perches, bedding, and all items you use in their house. Collect the chicken droppings from the dropping board using a scoop. 

Before laying down new bedding, apply an organic cleaning solution (white vinegar & water) to wash away the bacteria and eliminate odor. Unplug the coop heater, brooder, or lamp heater and wipe to remove grime and dirt. 

Whether using an organic or store-bought cleaning solution, wear protective gear like gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from bacterial and chemical contamination. Remove your dirty clothes and take a bath after cleaning.

Full-Deep Clean Up

This cleaning method is more detailed compared to general maintenance cleaning. You don’t have to do this method regularly, but annually. Since you seldom do it, you must clean those hard-to-reach areas. 

This method allows you to check some damages in the chicken house due to termite or weevil infestation. Take this opportunity to replace worn-out frames, hinges, and screws in pen. When performing a full-deep cleaning, you have to follow the steps below. 

  • Wear gloves and a face mask before cleaning the chicken coop. 
  • Transfer the chickens from the coop and place them in a temporary shelter. 
  • Take out those removable things in the coop, such as brooder lights, lamp lights, coop heaters, perches, nesting boxes, feeders, and waterers. You can ask for assistance if you have a large coop, as removing the things and chickens takes time. 
  • Remove the dust, dirt, cobwebs, feathers, and droppings from the floor and bedding. Scrape out the hardened chicken droppings and spray with DIY cleaner. 
  • Scrub down the surfaces and walls after removing the dirt and debris using organic cleaner and disinfectant. 
  • Using your garden hose, spray the walls, floor, nesting boxes, and enclosure with water, scrubbing once in a while to remove the grime, mildew, and dirt. Repeat the step if it needs more spraying. You can also use boiling water to kill the microorganisms in the coop. 
  • Clear any standing water left after washing and leave the chicken house for a few hours to air dry. Allow the sunlight and air to dry the enclosure. The sun naturally disinfects the coop. 
  • While drying the enclosure, wash the feeders, nesting boxes, and waterers with soap and water. Dust the heaters and check if they need repair or replacement. 
  • Return the things to their proper places and replace the bedding before returning the chickens to their coops. 

Change the Chicken Bedding

Chicken droppings, feathers, and dust invite bacteria to thrive in the chicken coop. It is imperative that after cleaning it, you have to change the bedding at least once per week. 

Soiled bedding will make your fowl sick and die due to bacterial growth. The manure turns into ammonia when released into the air. Inhaling ammonia makes animals and people sick. 

There are many bedding choices for your coop. You can make your DIY bedding using organic materials, such as recycled paper, wood shavings (pine shavings & cedar shavings), hay, straw, sand, grass clipping, and shredded leaves. 

These materials are cost-saving, soft, comfortable, and moisture-absorbent as they contain insulation properties. You can use them for building compost, known as the deep litter method. The chicken dung directly goes to the bedding, which is easy to sweep and scoop. 


Chicken Coup Cleaning Routine

Daily Cleaning Tasks

There are a few tasks to do every day when you feed and check the conditions of your fowl. The first thing you will do upon getting up is to collect the eggs if you use them for your omelet or pancakes. 

Although it is not a significant part of your daily cleaning task, it ensures that the eggs don’t get dirty when you start cleaning. You can collect it twice a day to keep it clean. Change the nesting box material or nesting box pads as needed. You can shake the nesting pad and top them with wood shavings. 

Imagine the hens laying on dirty eggs! Daily cleaning of the nesting material ensures that the eggs are clean and free from contaminants. Clean the perches and poop boards and remove any single poop you see in the enclosure. If the bedding gets soaked, you must replace it with new and dry bedding. 

Clean the waterer and feeder with soap and water to ensure the food and water are clean and do not ingest their poop. You can use an automatic chicken waterer to splash the water out and remove the chicken dung. If using a manual waterer, fill it with clean water. 

The chicken house should have proper ventilation to get rid of excess moisture. Fix holes in the place to protect your chickens from predator attacks. Fill potholes with soil so chickens will not step on mud and paddles during rainy days, as this can cause foot diseases. 

Clear the surroundings and outdoor spaces from stagnant water to ensure they live in a healthy environment. If using bales for bedding and perches, check it regularly, as rodents might have built their nest underneath. 

If you notice the surroundings wet due to snow or rain or a leaky pipeline, you have to spend a complete cleaning even if it does not fall into your cleaning schedule.  

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

Your weekly routine includes cleaning the surroundings and the inside of your chicken house. Remove the nesting materials and bedding. Sweep and wash the floor using organic cleaner and sanitizer. 

After cleaning the coop, change the bedding and nesting materials with clean ones to eliminate parasites, fungus, foul odor, and mildew. Protect foot diseases in your fowl by keeping the bedding and the floor dry. 

Apply quick dusting after adding new bedding. Rake out the chicken yard, especially if you have a large area. Place the chicken droppings in the compost pile for your gardening needs. 

Fill the chicken dust bath with wood ash or diatomaceous earth (buy it at a feed store). A dust bath helps your chicken smell fresh and free from mite infestation.

Monthly Cleaning Tasks

The monthly cleaning routine should include cleaning and spraying the nesting boxes with an organic bleach solution or one part of bleach for ten parts of water. Wipe the nesting boxes with a clean rag. 

After cleaning, change the boxes with new material. Scrape the chicken dung out from the roosting bars and perches. Spray them with a bleach solution and wipe them with a clean cloth. 

Another monthly task is to clean the chicken coop bedding and change it with wood shavings or any fresh bedding material. 

Every Other Month Cleaning Routine

Apply deep cleaning in your chicken coop by scraping off the poop from the nesting boxes and roosting bars. Scoop out the poop from the bedding. Use a leaf blower if the chicken coop flooring is wood or cement. It lessens your workload as the blower blows out the dust and cobwebs.  

You can also hose down the coop floor to remove the remaining poop. After spraying the floor, please focus on the walls, surfaces, and roosts using a diluted bleach solution and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Dry the coop using a leaf blower. Replenish the enclosure with fresh bedding material. 

Bi-Annually

A twice-a-year cleaning is another routine that you must do to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your chicken coop. Clean and disinfect the chicken house’s waterers, feeders, nesting boxes, perches, roosting bars, and surfaces. 

Make a warm solution of detergent and apply it for thirty minutes. Dry the things and the area properly before returning the chickens to their clean coops. You can schedule a bi-annual cleaning during the fall season to eliminate the mites. 

If you bring a new bird into the pen, you must perform a deep cleaning to prevent disease. It would help if you quarantined the new bird before introducing them to the flock.

The Bottom Line

Performing a regular cleaning up and disinfection of your chicken coop is a precautionary measure that can prevent diseases. We have discussed the types and routine schedule of cleaning the coop. A thorough cleaning should include the inside and outdoor spaces of the enclosure. 

Cleaning every nook and crevice of your chicken coop takes time if you seldom clean it. Do not allow your negligence and laziness to take a toll on your fowl. Learn to manage your time to set a regular cleaning routine even if you are such a busy person.

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