Do you desperately need to clean your chicken coop? This post includes all the information you need for when, how, and why to clean your chicken coop!
Cleaning your chicken coop may seem like a hassle, but it is worth the effort! The wonderful thing about cleaning your chicken coop is that if you do it a few times a year, or better yet, once a month, it’ll take no time at all!
I built my new chicken coop in March and told myself I would do a weekly clean! Hah!
After 5 months, I finally cleaned it for the first time! (Which I’m not particularly proud to admit, but it’s true)
And… while it appeared to be an all day project, it only took me a few hours. So now my goal is to stay on top of it, probably not weekly as my initial hope was, but monthly.
When to Clean Your Chicken Coop
It is past time to clean your chicken coop when you walk into the home of your cherished flock, and it smells! Believe it or not, a chicken coop does not always smell, and by cleaning your coop regularly, it may not ever get that unpleasant smell.
To learn exactly when each cleaning task should be done check out my article: How Often to Clean Your Chicken Coop
The crucial time for cleaning the chicken coop is when you begin to see dust, dirt and cobwebs, dirty chicken coop bedding, dirty nesting material, and built up chicken poop. If these are the circumstances, it is time to clean, pronto!
The ultimate goal is to clean your chicken coop before each of these areas get too out of hand. Then you will have a quick clean versus a 3-4 hour clean as I did after waiting 5 months!
Below are photos of my chicken coop after far too many months without a good cleaning…
Sadly, as life gets busy, cleaning your chicken coop is likely going to be the least of your priorities! But before your coop gets out of control, set aside the time and clean, I promise it is worth it!
Before Cleaning Chicken Coop
Before starting the process be sure that you have a mask for cleaning chicken coop. I have a pack of disposable dust and filter safety masks (amazon) and they work great. Then afterwards I can just throw it away.
Some will argue against wearing a mask, saying that it is unnecessary. I have no strong opinion either way, although I’d rather be safe than sorry, and wearing a mask certainly won’t hurt anything.
A few of the reasons for wearing a mask are to prevent the inhalation of dusts and ammonia.
On top of the dirt, the chickens poop, feathers, and other bacteria are in the chicken coop dust. The dusts also contain endotoxins (toxins of gram-negative bacteria) which may cause acute and chronic illnesses.
Ammonia is often present in the coop as well, especially during colder months when the chicken coop is closed up, preventing sufficient ventilation.
Exposure to ammonia can be irritating to your eyes and respiratory tract, therefore wearing a mask will be beneficial.
How to Clean Your Chicken Coop
First, scrape off all of the built up chicken manure from roosting bars, nesting boxes, and walls. Then, shovel and sweep out all of the chicken bedding, as well as scoop out nesting box material.
Second, I use a shop vac and vacuum up all of the remaining particles in corners and nesting boxes. Then, I switch the shop vac hose to the connection that blows air versus vacuuming, and blow off all of the dust from the walls and boxes.
Then I proceed to blow out the entire coop to remove all remaining dirt.
Third, I use a high pressure spray nozzle that connects to a water hose and spray off the entire floor of the coop and roosts. I’d recommend only doing this step if you’re chicken coop floor is cement, or treated to be water resistant.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The next step is to clean chicken coop with vinegar. This step is optional, but it will help clean by removing remaining dirt, debris and stuck on chicken poop. Vinegar will also help to control and remove odors.
Vinegar is a safe product for animals compared to harsh cleaning products and that’s why it is a great choice. Regular white vinegar or apple cider vinegar is all it takes.
Simply mix equal parts water and vinegar, or use straight vinegar and spray it on floors, roosts, and amongst nesting boxes.
Then, after a few minutes use the water hose to rinse the floor and roosts a second time and a wet rag to wipe out nesting boxes if needed. Then simply let your coop air dry.
If you’d like to disinfect to ensure killing bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, or bacteria from previous sick chickens, then you can use a mild bleach solution of ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water.
Personally, I do not always bother with this step, but if you have had any sick chickens with a known disease then it would be smart to go the extra step to fully clean and disinfect your coop.
What I regularly do is clean out feeders and waterers. I have an automatic chicken waterer and at least once a week I dump out the water and spray it out with a water hose.
For the feeder, I just keep an eye on the food and if I notice that the chickens have been pooping in their food or have stirred up dirt, I scoop out the top layer and throw it out to ensure their feed is clean.
To learn more about how often you should be doing each task check out: How Often to Clean Your Chicken Coop
Final Steps for Cleaning
After the floor is dry, spread out new chicken coop bedding and add new nesting box material. The chicken coop bedding that I especially like to use is Mallard Creek Premium Poultry Bedding.
I like this bedding because it contains ultra absorbent wood shavings with diatomaceous earth (which controls insects). And zeolite (contained in the added pellets, which helps to control the odor).
Why Clean Your Chicken Coop
Cleaning your chicken coop will not only benefit you as you walk in to collect your eggs and smell a clean coop. But it is beneficial to your flock!
First, having a clean chicken coop reduces the chance of bugs making homes in the coop, that then infest your birds. Common pests are chicken mites!
This article from Insteading.com has great information about chicken mites. It goes over symptoms and identification, treatment, anti-parasitic treatments, plus prevention.
Second, clean bedding and nesting material provides a clean area for eggs, reducing the amount of time it takes washing eggs.
Third, a clean chicken coop allows you to see any new changes within your birds, such as abnormal chicken droppings, so that you may quickly be able to take action and treat them as necessary.
Finally, a clean chicken coop means for a happy flock and happy chicken owner!
Below are after photos of my clean chicken coop, and my hope is that my chickens are as happy as I am!
Whether your chicken coop is a big or small coop, clean it and reap the benefits today!
For more information on raising chickens, check out my book The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens! It has a ton of valuable information.