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    Tractor Supply Company

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    How to Clean a Chicken Coop

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    Backyard chickens can be rewarding — they’re fun, unique, and their eggs provide nutrition for your family. But owning a flock of chickens comes with plenty of responsibilities. Many first-time chicken owners wonder how often to clean a chicken coop and which tasks need to be done most frequently. Follow these step-by-step task lists, and discover how to keep your chicken coop clean without dedicating too much of your day to chores.

    Daily tasks

    Spending a few minutes on each of these chores every day will lead to happy and healthy hens.

    1. Remove extra food from feed boxes at night. Leaving food out overnight can attract predators. Keep your flock safe by emptying leftover food when they settle in for the night, then refresh food and water in the morning.
    2. Clean up droppings. Chicken poop contains bacteria and should be removed from the chicken coop daily. Use a trowel to scoop or scrape it from the dropping boards, and add it into your compost.
    3. Collect eggs. Take freshly laid eggs from the nesting boxes each day, as some will break if they start piling up.

    Weekly tasks

    Add these coop chores to your list of things to do at the start of each week.

    1. Refresh nesting materials. Fresh nesting materials keep live poultry comfortable and content, and happy chickens produce the highest-quality eggs. Bacteria and ammonia build up in bedding that isn’t changed often enough, leading to potential health risks to your hens. You can also place fresh herbs in the bedding while cleaning the chicken coop — the scent is comforting to chickens and deters rodents, mites and lice.
    2. Clean waterers and feeding boxes. To kill bacteria, use a DIY cleaning solution of equal parts water and vinegar to scrub down waterers and feeders. If you have a large flock, you may want to do this twice a week.
    3.  Dust the walls and ceilings of the chicken coop. Cobwebs and dust build up if not removed regularly.

    Monthly tasks

    Keep up to date on your daily and weekly chores, and these additional monthly tasks will be easy to manage.

    1. Clean hard surfaces inside the chicken coop. Wipe down walls, doors and ceilings with your water and vinegar mixture, and use nontoxic glass spray on windows.
    2. Scrape roosting bars. Chicken poop builds up on the bars over time. Use a garden hoe to scrape the bars clean, then disinfect them with your water and vinegar cleaning mixture.

    Bi-annual tasks

    Alongside your daily, weekly and monthly chores, how often should you clean a chicken coop from top to bottom? Schedule in a deep clean about every six months. If you move your flock to a more sheltered enclosure for the winter, take these steps to give the warm-weather coop a good spring clean before the hens return.

    1.  Clean out old droppings, feathers, dirt, and nesting materials. Use shovels and brooms to remove everything, and add it into your compost.
    2. Hose down the chicken coop. Remove any leftover dirt and dust.
    3. Scrub down surfaces. Disinfect the chicken coop with a hand brush and natural cleaning solution. Don’t forget to give the nesting and feeding boxes a thorough cleanse, too. Once you’re done, spray everything down with a hose once more.
    4. Dry out the chicken coop. Sweep out excess water, then leave the windows and doors open to let everything dry out. Place removable nesting and feeding boxes in the sun to help them dry faster.
    5. Make the coop comfortable for your hens. Once it’s fully dried out, add fresh nesting materials and herbs for your flock to enjoy.

    Tips to keep in mind while cleaning a chicken coop

    As you complete your daily, weekly and monthly cleaning tasks, keep health and safety top of mind with these tips.

    • Wear a mask and gloves. Cleaning a chicken coop comes with potential dangers if you’re exposed to bacteria. Chickens can carry diseases like salmonella, bird flu, and E. coli, which are transmitted primarily through their waste. Protect yourself with a mask and gloves, and consider designating specific shoes and clothes that are worn only inside the chicken coop to avoid tracking germs into the house.
    • Use natural cleaners. Many household cleaning materials contain bleach or other harsh ingredients that can be harmful to chickens. There are some natural cleaners on the market, or keep things simple and cost-effective with a DIY mixture that’s half water and half vinegar.
    • Check for wear and tear. While cleaning the chicken coop, keep an eye out for anything that needs repair. Hens can cut themselves on sharp edges, and loose chicken wire makes it easy for predators to reach your flock.

    Follow these guidelines on how to clean a chicken coop, and you’re sure to have a happy flock and quality eggs. No matter what your flock needs are, Tractor Supply has everything you need for starting, growing, and maintaining your flock year-round.