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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 chicken coop door.

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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!

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Supplies You’ll Need Prior to Cleaning

Shop-Vac

The shop vac is extremely helpful because you can suck up wet or dry materials. It’s great for sucking out nesting material or bedding that gets stuck in corners.

High-Pressure Spray Nozzle

Whether you use a pressure washer or high-pressure spray nozzle, it’s very much needed to spray off chicken poop and dirt off of the walls, roosts, and floor.

Dust Mask

Some kind of mask is beneficial to use to prevent the inhalation of dust and ammonia.

The dust may contain endotoxins and Ammonia is often present in the coop, especially during colder months when the chicken coop is closed up, which prevents insufficient ventilation.

Vinegar

Vinegar is optional but it’s a safe all-natural way to clean and disinfect the coop.

Pine Shavings

Some sort of fresh bedding material is typically needed depending on the floor of your coop. My coop floor is cement and I prefer to use pine shavings.

Nesting Box Liners

There are many different options when it comes to nesting box material but I have found these nesting box liners to work the best!

Diatomaceous Earth

This is another optional product but it’s the best way to safely kill pests that may harm your chickens.

As soon as I am done cleaning I sprinkle it throughout the coop bedding and inside of the nesting boxes.

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop

  1. Scrape off all of the built-up chicken manure from roosting bars, nesting boxes, and walls.
  2. Shovel and sweep out all of the chicken bedding and scoop out nesting box material.
  3. Use a shop vac to vacuum up all of the remaining particles in corners and nesting boxes.
  4. 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.
  5. Proceed to blow out the entire coop to remove all remaining dirt.
  6. Use a high-pressure spray nozzle or pressure washer and spray off the floor, walls, roosts, and boxes of the coop.

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

A clean cement chicken coop floor.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Chicken Coop

After completing the above steps, clean your chicken coop with regular white or apple cider vinegar.

Using vinegar is optional but it will help remove remaining dirt, debris, and stuck on chicken poop. It will help control and remove odors. And it is perfectly safe to use around animals.

Simply mix equal parts of water and vinegar, or use straight vinegar, and spray it on floors, roosts, nesting boxes, and wherever else it’s needed.

After a few minutes use the water hose to rinse off the areas where vinegar was applied and use a rag to wipe out nesting boxes if needed.

Then simply let your coop air dry or use a leaf blower to help speed along the drying process.

If you’d like to disinfect to ensure killing bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli or bacteria from previous sick chickens 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 it is smart to go the extra step to fully disinfect your coop.

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Final Cleaning Steps

After the floor is dry put out new chicken coop bedding and add fresh nesting box material to your nesting boxes.

I like to use pine shavings for the bedding and nesting box liners for the nesting boxes.

Then the final step to my process is sprinkling diatomaceous earth throughout the nesting boxes and coop bedding. There are so many benefits of diatomaceous earth for chickens and as long as you’re using food grade DE it is all-natural and safe.

Watch my YouTube video below to see cleaning in action!

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

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 bad!

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 at all.

To learn exactly when each cleaning task should be done head to my article here, How Often to Clean Your Chicken Coop.

Or be sure to grab my FREE Chicken Keeping Checklist which covers all cleaning tasks and chicken-keeping tips in a downloadable PDF format!

But here are a few quick details.

On a regular basis, I always 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.

But the crucial time for cleaning inside of the chicken coop is when you begin to see dust, dirt, cobwebs, dirty chicken coop bedding, dirty nesting material, and built-up chicken poop.

If these are the circumstances, it is time to clean as soon as you can!

The ultimate goal is to clean your chicken coop before each of these areas gets too out of hand.

Then you will have a quick and easy cleaning versus a long dreadful cleaning after waiting far too long!

Below are before and after photos of my chicken coop after far too many months without a good cleaning…

Dirty chicken nesting boxes.
Dirty chicken coop bedding.
Clean nesting boxes.
Clean 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!

Why Cleaning Your Coop Is Important

Cleaning your chicken coop will not only benefit you as you walk in to collect your eggs and smell a fresh clean coop. But it is beneficial to your flock!

  1. 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 and lice!
  2. Clean bedding and nesting material provides a clean area for eggs, reducing the amount of time it takes washing eggs.
  3. 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.
  4. A clean coop results in a happy flock and happy chicken owner!

If you’d like to learn even more about raising chickens be sure to check out my ebook below where I share all of my tips and personal experience related to raising chickens!

Want to dive deeper?

Check out my ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens where I share all of the tips & information you need to raise a healthy flock of chickens!

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Clean Chicken Coop Bedding Inside of a Clean Chicken Coop

18 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.

  6. So I’m getting some plans together to build a chicken coop. My sister wants it to be very easy to clean, keep up with, ect. I’m wondering if based on your past experience if you can tell me what to use over a wire apron. I’ve heard some people use sand as a sort of “base” just to cover the wire and then layer shavings on top. I’m not sure what the right answer is.

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