Your chicken coop and roll away nesting boxes, just like your own home, require regular cleaning and maintenance. In the case of chickens however, cleaning up does not serve only an aesthetic purpose but is performed to ensure the health and well-being of your chickens.
Here are the action steps for a perfect coop cleanup:
1. Remove all debris, feathers, nesting materials, stains and bird droppings from the area. This may take some time, depending on the size of your coop. Try to scrape out as much bird droppings as possible at this step because it will make the subsequent steps much easier. Droppings won't soften with water or a cleansing solution so the more you take out now, the less work there will be later.
2. Spray down the enclosure with a garden hose. You'll want to clean up any dust, debris and dirt that has accumulated from your previous scraping and shoveling. If there is a substantial number of debris remaining, repeat step one.
3. Wash every surface of the coop. Pay special attention to window sills, ceiling trusses, and wall sills, as well as any other surface that may acquire dirt and dust. The washing solution should be a mild alkali such as a baking soda combined with hot water at 160°F (~70°C) or above.
4. Use a natural cleaning product like vinegar to disinfect the chicken nesting boxes and coop. Do not use bleach, since it is far too harsh for animals to bear and can be poisonous to the chickens if it hasn't dried entirely. Vinegar, however, provides very comparable cleansing properties without the unpleasant consequences. Mix equal parts vinegar and water to produce a cleaning solution and mop up the area for an all-natural cleaning. Take a hand brush or a thick broom and clean the floors and walls to free any lingering droppings, debris or dirt.
5. Sweep away any remaining standing water. Once done, let the coop and nest boxes dry naturally. Fresh air will assist to alleviate any lingering vinegar smell (which can get quite strong), and sunlight will aid in the disinfecting process as well.
6. Inspect your coop and make any necessary repairs. This is a good time to look for any coop access points you may have missed out on. These are likely to be used by sneaky rodents so make sure the outside and inside of the building are fully sealed. Fill the hole with a small amount of spray foam insulation, then fill it with fine steel wool and finish with some spray foam.
7. Disinfect. This is the last step in the cleaning process which you may decide to employ. Disinfectants should be used only after properly cleaning the building and equipment, and ideally immediately after rinsing. Disinfecting sprays are easy to use and you are likely to have them around the house even if it wasn't for your chicken coop. A proper, full-on fumigation, may be required in case of any disease outbreaks. You need to be very careful however while performing it and allow for sufficient time to pass before getting the birds back in the coop.
ConclusionBy failing to clean up your chicken coop on a regular basis, you expose your flock to sickness. Individuals who do not regularly clean their chicken coops risk losing birds to infections that may easily be prevented with routine cleaning. Maintaining a clean chicken coop can help prevent the transmission of germs and will assist you in keeping your flock healthy.
Cleaning a chicken coop benefits you in more ways than one as you enter to collect your eggs and smell a clean coop. However, it is helpful to your flock. A clean coop prevents germs from migrating between chickens, while also providing a clean environment for eggs, lowering the quantity of bacteria on your eggs and the time required to wash them. Most importantly, cleaning a chicken coop and bedding allows you to observe any new changes, such as chicken droppings, and respond appropriately.