Before I even get into the “tricks” of how to keep a clean coop I’m just gonna give to you straight that the reality is if you want a clean coop, you obviously have to clean it! Cleaning the coop is not something you want to put off or delay because it just gets worse, plus you don’t want sick chickens right? Just think of all that effort and time you put into raising your girls and waiting ever so patiently for that first egg and then boom they get a respiratory illness which they don’t recover from.
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How to Keep a Clean Coop
If you keep up with what I like to call “cleaning maintenance” then you won’t be drowning in chicken poop so to speak. Here are some ways to improve your coop so cleaning is bearable:
Removable Roost Bars
Chickens poop everywhere and I mean everywhere! Almost every morning I can be guaranteed to have poop on the roost bars-now if I could get that same guartentee for eggs I’d be happy! Having roost bars that are removable save you the trouble of breaking your back to get into the coop to scrub those bars off.
Orginally I intended on putting dropping boards in my coop but the configuration for it just didn’t pan out. Dropping boards can be a nice added feature to have so all the poop from the overnight ends up in one place and then you just scrap it into a bucket every morning.
To be quite honest Sweet PDZ can be a great product to buy for your coop so the smell isn’t as bad, especially if you have close neighbors. It’s gets sprinkled down on the coop floor and then you just put bedding over top of it and then during clean out time it can be safely composted. The only downside of course is that it costs money! I tend to use this product more for my rabbit house because those rabbits are just plain messier than the chickens.
Deep Litter Method
The deep litter method is widely used amongst chicken keepers because it is both beneficial to the chickens and the owners. For the chickens when the bedding and chicken poop start to decompose it can raise the temperature inside the coop a few degrees, which is good during the very cold months of winter. For the owners, DLM requires little maintenance. Just making sure the old bedding and feces are turned every so often and applying new bedding on top is really all you have to do. I haven’t tried this method myself yet but I am anxious to implement it next year.
Coop Floor Material
In my opinion, the floor of your coop is the one of the most important features to consider. Our coop is not on the ground and is raised about 2 feet high so initially I thought my husband would do just a plywood flooring. My husband though had a better plan and made the floor with Azek which is a polymer (PVC). With PVC you don’t have to worry about any absorption or rot, which is problem when working with wood. It’s nice to have a material that you can wipe completely clean. My nest boxes are also made from the PVC so that makes those better to clean too.
A less expensive option would be to placed down adhesive laminate flooring over the wood. Besides a roll, they usually also sell them in 12″x12″ squares that you can easily adhere to the wood.
If you have a routine and stick to it, cleaning the coop won’t be such a chore. You’ll also want to plan to do complete coop clean outs when the weather is mild. I like to thoroughly clean out my coop twice a year-once in April and then again in September/October. About this time of year I can’t wait for the weather to warm again so I can get at that coop!
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