Guide to Keeping Chicken Coops Clean
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on November 21, 2022
Keeping your backyard chicken coops is essential for keeping your chickens healthy. If you’re wondering what’s involved in a chicken coop’s care and maintenance, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
Why Clean Chicken Coops Matter
The number one reason you’ll want to keep your backyard chicken coops clean? Salmonella. If a chicken’s fecal matter gets on someone’s hand and they then touch their mouth, the person could get Salmonella. Clean chicken coops massively reduce the risk of Salmonella infections.
A clean chicken coop is also great for your flock. Since the eggs your chickens lay will be in a clean area, there are fewer bacteria on the egg. Cleaning your coops regularly will also give you some insight into your chicken’s health, so you can take action if needed.
How Often Should You Clean Chicken Coops?
One of the benefits of chicken coops over chicken pens is that they don’t require as much maintenance. But they’ll still need some care and attention to keep clean, so your chickens have a healthy place to live and produce eggs.
Provide your chickens with fresh food and water daily, and aim to clean the bedding around once a week. If the bedding layers are deeper, you won’t have to clean it as often, but don’t go any longer than once a month. If you’re unsure if you should clean your chicken coops, look for any dirty bedding, dust, cobwebs, or excessive chicken feces — if you’re starting to see any of this, it’s probably time to give it a good clean.
How You Can Clean Your Coop — and Keep it Clean
Gear up with a pair of gloves and a face mask to keep yourself healthy while you clean. Start by taking the chickens out of your coop and into a temporary enclosure. Take everything out — this may take some time, but getting it done right is worth it. Scrape out any caked-on dust, dirt, or other materials.
Once everything’s out, you can start spraying your coops down with a hose. You can also use buckets of boiling water to help loosen any dirt and kill mites. Disinfect the coop and the nesting boxes with a natural cleaning agent. A vinegar and water solution is perfect for cleaning backyard chicken coops. Just make sure what you’re using isn’t toxic for the chickens. Let anything you’ve disinfected sit out in the sun to dry completely.
Now that the coop’s clean, you’ll want to try and keep it that way as long as possible. You have a few options here: one is to lay a tarp down before you cover it with bedding. This method makes your next cleanup a breeze and will help keep your backyard chicken coops dry.
The next method is using deep litter and manure compost. Scattering this on the floor of your coop is great for keeping your chickens warm and also allows you to go longer than a week between cleanings.
The final method is doing touch-up cleaning with your vinegar and water mixture. This light cleaning will make your deep cleaning much easier and leaves you with a better-smelling coop. The method you choose will depend on what works best for you and the chicken coop you’ve chosen for your flock.
Is it Necessary to Wash Your Eggs?
No — there’s no need to wash your eggs. When chickens lay their eggs, they come out with an antibacterial coating. Washing the eggs removes this coating, which could cause bacterial growth.
If your coop is maintained properly, there should be no chicken feces on your eggs. But if there is, you’ll need to wash them to reduce the risk of Salmonella. You can still clean your eggs without washing them. The dry cleaning method involves using something lightly abrasive like fine sandpaper or a loofah to gently scrub the egg clean.
Want more coop insights? Before making a purchase, download our guide, How to Evaluate the Best-fit Quality Chicken Coops. While you want to protect your flock, you also want to make a long-lasting and valuable investment.