| |

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop

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!

Hens Looking Through the Door of a 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!

DON’T MISS OUT! Get your free checklist with all important chicken-keeping tasks here!

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop

First, scrape off all of the built-up chicken manure from roosting bars, nesting boxes, and walls.

Second, shovel and sweep out all of the chicken bedding, as well as scoop out nesting box material.

Third, I use a shop vac and vacuum up all of the remaining particles in corners and nesting boxes.

Fourth, I switch the shop vac hose to the connection that blows air versus vacuuming and I 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.

Lastly, I use a high-pressure spray nozzle that connects to a water hose and I spray off the entire floor of the coop and roosts.

I recommend only doing this step if you’re chicken coop floor is cement, or treated to be water-resistant.

Clean Chicken Coop Floor

Cleaning and Disinfecting Chicken Coop

The next step is to clean your 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 nesting boxes.

After a few minutes use the water hose to rinse the floor and roosts and use 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 should 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 it would be smart to go the extra step to fully clean and disinfect your coop.

What I do on a regular basis 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.

How Often 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…

Dirty Chicken Coop Nesting Boxes
Dirty Chicken Coop Bedding

Sadly, as life gets busy, cleaning your chicken coop is likely going to be the least of your priorities!

So before your coop gets out of control, set aside the time and clean, I promise it is worth it!

DON’T MISS OUT! Get your free checklist with all important chicken-keeping tasks here!

Before Cleaning Chicken Coop

Before starting the process be sure that you have a mask.

I have a pack of disposable dust and filter safety masks (amazon) and they work great. Afterward, I just throw it away.

A few of the reasons for wearing a mask are to prevent the inhalation of dust and ammonia.

The dust can 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, which prevents insufficient ventilation.

Exposure to ammonia can be irritating to your eyes and respiratory tract, therefore wearing a mask will be beneficial.

RELATED: How Often to Clean Your Chicken Coop

Final Steps for Cleaning Chicken Coop

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 will infest your birds. Common pests are chicken mites!

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 a happy flock and happy chicken owner!

Watch below to see cleaning in action!

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop! (Even When It's a Disaster)

Below are after photos of my clean chicken coop! My hope is that my chickens are as happy as I am!

Clean Chicken Coop Nesting Boxes
Clean Chicken Coop Bedding Inside a Clean Chicken Coop

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!

Pin it for later:

Clean Chicken Coop Bedding Inside a Clean Chicken Coop

17 Comments

  1. Your comments here were very informative and appreciate the time you took to write it. I was raised around chickens as a child but in my adult life Iwas not, however, I am getting changed chickens next month and have been reading verociously about the best bedding, Do’s and Dont’s, etc. Where can I find the bedding you mentioned above, the Premium Poultry Bedding? Is it readily available or is it a specialty item from a small organization?

  2. I prefer using sand for bedding and I clean my coop at least every other day and it only takes maybe 15-25 minutes to do. I use a large spoon with small holes in it so the sand will fall through the holes leaving just the poop in the spoon. Nice thing about the sand is it dries out the poop or anything runny and makes it a lot easier to pick up whatever comes out the back end of the chicken other then the egg! A little of the bigger pebbles in the sand end up with the poop and goes into the garden together, but that just helps keep my soil from compacting as much and it drains well! Tried the hay type materials, but it a lot messier to clean up!

    1. Hi Gale, that’s really smart. Sand is great. Plus the chickens love fluffing in it I’m sure. My chicken coop floor is cement so the shavings seem to work good for me because I can just sweep it out. But my old chicken coop was a dirt floor and so sand would have been perfect.

    2. Gayle, may I ask what type sand and how thick of a layer would you recommend in the coop and in the run? Beside the daily scooping of the droppings, do you ever have to replace all of the sand, and if so how often? Thanks for sharing the idea.

      1. Hi Alice, I’m not Gale, but I also use sand for the floor of my coop. I have about a 4 inch layer of sand. You will want to find a course sand to cut down on the dust. I had heard to use contractor’s sand, but it has not been cleaned. I use sand box sand, but I found some that was courser. It’s been washed, and I figure if it’s safe for my children, it’s safe for my chickens. I would avoid just getting sand from a beach etc. I do a total clean out of my coop which means replacing the sand, once a year. Otherwise, I just use a kitty litter scoop every morning when I let them out. I still clean out the nesting boxes (in which I use pine shavings) 4-6 times per year, depending on how dirty they get.

  3. I use a dust-pan type of poop scooper that comes with a little rake (from Amazon) to clean under the roosting bar and wherever else it is needed. I have three chickens so it takes less than 1 minute! I do this every day, because it is so easy. I use regular horse pine shavings, and keep a pile of clean shavings in one of the corners so I can replenish where needed in seconds with the little rake. Just love having everything so clean and no smell EVER!

    1. Hi Margaret! That sounds like a great cleaning tool! I’ll have to look into that for sure. And I agree, it is so nice to have a clean and smell free chicken coop 🙂

    1. I usually just dump it in the dumpster or down in our brush pile. There isn’t much you can do with it because I don’t like to keep the dirty shavings. If you just are scooping out chicken manure you could add it to a compost pile though.

  4. I’ve been learning about using Industrial Hemp instead of shavings. It naturally composts, does not have the dust as does shavings and lasts for months. The bags are much more expensive than shavings, but in the long haul, you save money because it does not take as many bags as what you would use with shavings. So far I’m sold on the hemp and the deep bedding method.

  5. We are currently in the process of building a new chicken coop. We have learned over the last 10 yrs what our mistakes were with the first coop we built. To make it easier to keep clean we are adding a slide out dropping board that will be positioned about 1 ft. beneath the roosts that will slide out the back of the coop. The building is 10 x 12 ft which is more than enough room for our small flock so we are adding a dividing wall to create a storage area in the front half of the building leaving the girls with plenty of room in the back half. We have also been using several inches of sand on the coop floor which I easily scoop out with a small pitch fork that is wrapped in hardware cloth. I like the long handle of the pitch for, it keeps be from having to bend over to scoop therefore saving the strain on my back. The sand is so much easier than the pine shaving we used previously! I was told to use construction sand and specifically not to use play sand. I think maybe because the play sand is dustier which is not good for the chickens respiratory system but I’m not really sure about that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *