Farm Chores – Cleaning the Chicken Coop

One of the recurring farm chores is to clean out the chicken coop periodically. The cleaning process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on how long between cleanings and how thoroughly you want to clean the coop.

Chickens coops don’t need to smell bad and a bad smell (usually a strong ammonia smell) is usually an indication that cleaning is actually long overdue.

The chicken coop right before fall cleaning.

The chicken coop right before fall cleaning.

Click through to see the before and after pictures from the coop.

Because winter is approaching and the flock will be spending increasing amounts of time inside the coop as it gets colder, we decided to do a full coop cleaning for the fall.

Coop nest boxes before cleaning.

Coop nest boxes before cleaning.

Unfortunately, chicken poop can be turned into a toxic dust during cleaning that gets kicked up into the air. To make sure we don’t breath in too much dust during cleaning, we use protective breathing masks like the one pictured below.

This is the breathing mask we use for coop cleaning.

This is the breathing mask we use for coop cleaning.

For the actual cleaning, most of the work is just scraping and scooping out chicken poop, feathers, and soiled bedding (mostly pine and cedar shavings).  The easiest technique for us is to clean off the roosts and tops of the nest boxes with a square shovel. Then we can use the same square shovel to scrap the floor clean as well. We also use a grain scoop to scoop up the pile after scraping the floor with the square shovel. We take the removed debris out to the compost heap.

The coop after cleaning.

The coop after cleaning.

A nest box after initial cleaning.

A nest box after initial cleaning.

Now that the coop is mostly cleaned out, we can do a deeper clean. We just use straight vinegar or apple cider vinegar. (Note that you should not use bleach – chicken poop contains a high amount of ammonia and if you use bleach, it can create toxic gas). We spread the vinegar over most of the surfaces and rub it in with a brush. We then leave the coop for several hours to dry out.

Once it is dry, we put in some new bedding into the coop for the chickens. We use cedar chips for the nest boxes and the top of the next boxes and pine bedding on the floor.

Nest box with fresh cedar chips.

Nest box with fresh cedar chips.

Clean coop ready for use.

Clean coop ready for use.

We open the door and the chickens can go in for the night into a fresh, clean coop.

Chicken coop door is open, ready for use.

Chicken coop door is open, ready for use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.