How to Keep a Clean Chicken Coop

Let’s face it, chickens sure are messy, and if you are looking for tips on how to Keep a Clean Chicken Coop, you are in the right place. Get a quick list of actionable things you can do to keep your coop cleaner year-round. One of the best benefits of backyard chickens is getting all those farm-fresh eggs, be sure you are collecting them in a clean and healthy environment.

HOW TO KEEP A CLEAN CHICKEN COOP (9)

I love chickens, but they sure can be messy. I never realized how much dust they made until we had a flock of our own.

And just one 10 minutes shower can turn a chicken run into a muddy, mucky mess. And it’s that outside mess that can quickly turn the inside coop messy if we are not careful.

Why do you need to keep your chicken coop clean?

A clean chicken coop will keep your chickens happy and healthy. A clean coop also reduces the risk of disease and illness that can be easily spread in close confinement. Chickens can develop breathing issues if they are in a coop that is dusty and dirty. Dust is the enemy of many animals, especially chickens.

A dirty chicken coop can lead to Salmonella, which can be passed from the chickens
to you and your family through touching and also keep bacteria from collecting on
the eggs.

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The good news is a clean coop doesn’t take as much work as you may think. Just a bit of daily upkeep, and you will have a cleaner coop year round. And a cleaner coop will give you a flock of healthy and happy chickens!

How to Keep a Clean Chicken Coop

You’ll know it’s time to clean your coop when you start seeing a few signs: dust, dirt, cobwebs, dirty bedding, and a build-up of feces. I prefer to upkeep our coop with routine cleaning eliminating the signs listed above.

If you like the idea of creating a routine cleaning schedule that fits your coop and where you live, you can do so with the list below. Go through each of the lists, and from there, you can customize a list that works for you.

Young golden chickens inside of a chicken coop

Daily Tasks

1. Give fresh water and rinse out the container.

2. Give fresh grain and clean up any spills.

3. Scrap off the chicken roost removing any debris.

chickens sitting on a roost inside of a chicken coop

Weekly Tasks

These extra weekly tasks take just minutes to do and will keep things much neater inside of your coop.

1. Spot-clean any soiled bedding as needed.

2. Add new bedding to heavily soiled areas.

3. Using a broom, brush any vents removing the dust and dirt.

a black chicken walking into a clean chicken coop

Monthly Tasks

These deeper tasks will help to ensure fresh air can get into the coop which is good no matter how cold the weather is outside.

1. Using a broom, brush the walls removing the dust and cobwebs.

3. Remove any caked-up dirt from the doors or entryway to ensure things can close securely at night.

4. Replace the straw inside the nesting boxes.

5. Add in a fresh thin layer of bedding to the coop.

a black chicken looking up at a set of nesting boxes

Biannual Tasks

When it’s time to give your coop a thorough cleaning, follow these steps to make sure it’s fully clean and disinfected:

1. Remove the chickens from the coop and move them to a temporary enclosure or away from the coop. This will ensure they do not wander or get in your way while you are cleaning.

2. Clear out everything that’s removable. Things like feeders, perches, nesting boxes, waterers, etc. This may be the most time-consuming part of the task, but it will ensure you are able to give a thorough cleaning. You’ll also want to remove all the bedding and be prepared to replace it with fresh bedding.

a green wheelbarrow at the door of a chicken coop with black chickens around

3. Start cleaning by scraping down all the surfaces to remove any feces that can get caked on. I like to use a paint scraper for this part. Next, use a broom work to remove any cobwebs, dust, and dirt, from the walls and ceiling. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves; not only will this be helpful to keep you from breathing in dust and reducing allergy issues, but it will also protect you from any disease that may be on the surfaces you’re cleaning.

4. Remove any remaining residue by hosing down the coop’s interior. If you find there is still debris left over, you may want to scrape the surfaces again and give it another hosing down. Pouring boiling water over the floor and walls will also get rid of any mites that may be in the coop.

5. Disinfect and make sure you’ve removed all bacteria; this includes disinfecting the nesting boxes as well as the coop itself. Avoid using any chemicals that may be harmful to your chickens. Instead, you can DIY a natural coop cleaner with equal parts vinegar and water. Use it to mop the floor and wipe down the walls and the nesting boxes. You can also use this solution to clean feeders and drinkers, then place them in the sun to dry.

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6. Allow to dry naturally. After cleaning, everything will need to air dry. This will also reduce the vinegar smell, and the sun will help with the disinfecting process.

7. Set up your coop. Once everything has been thoroughly cleaned and is dry, you can start moving everything back in. Use fresh bedding on the floor and put the cleaned feeders back in place. The chickens can now be moved back in.

young chickens in a coop with feed and water near by

8. As a final step, be sure to give your hands a good scrub, or better yet, take a shower to remove any grime and bacteria you may have picked up.

If you’re keeping your bedding deep, you should only perform this heavy cleaning once every four months or so. In between deep cleanings, you can simply clean out the feeders, add more bedding, and sweep out cobwebs.

Regularly there are three methods that many coop owners use to help maintain the cleanliness of their coops. You may want to try one of these to keep your coop clean a little easier.

Method 1 – The Tarp

Lay a tarp down on the coop floor and cover it with bedding. When it’s time to clean, you can easily fold the tarp up to make removing and dumping the old bedding an easy task. Be sure to disinfect the tarp with a mix of vinegar and water before replacing it. This will also help to keep the coop floor dry.

Method 2 – Vinegar and Water Cleaning

As mentioned, equal parts of vinegar and water makes the best solution for cleaning and disinfecting your coop while protecting your chickens from chemicals. Using it to clean also keeps your chickens healthier and has been known to increase egg production.

Method 3 – Deep Bedding

Deep bedding not only helps to keep you from having to clean the coop more often, but it also keeps your chickens warm in colder weather. Lay a thick base and allow the litter to build up compost on the floor; this will keep the coop warmer.

Whatever method you use, put your bedding into your portable compost bin or a dedicated compost area that you have set up on your property. Soiled bedding is a great brown matter for composting down into amazing soil that you can later use in your garden.

Compost bin in the garden made from pallets

Should you wash your eggs?

With all the concern over keeping your coop clean and reducing illness and disease, many people wonder if you should wash your eggs. The answer is yes, but not until you are ready to use them.

Eggs have a natural antibacterial coating (called a “bloom”) that happens when it is laid. Washing your eggs early will remove the bloom and encourage the growth of bacteria. The only time you should wash your eggs early is if they have fecal matter on them.

a bowl of eggs on a kitchen counter

Keeping your chicken coop clean will encourage more egg production and keep your chickens happy and healthy. Cleaner coops also lead to eggs with less bacteria, reducing your family’s risk of Salmonella. As an added bonus, cleaning your coop regularly will help you keep track of the health of your chickens; you’ll be able to see changes in the coop and in the droppings, allowing you to know sooner when there is an unhealthy chicken.

A simple clean of your coop every week will make the deep cleaning much easier and keep your chickens and their eggs healthier.

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