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How often to clean coop?

post #1 of 112
Thread Starter 

Hi! This is our first year with chickens. Our coop is approximately 5' wide by 15' long by 10' high. I'm curious with about 12 chickens, how often is it recommended that it is cleaned. The girls free range during the day so they aren't in it all the time, just mainly at night or when they are laying eggs. The floor is dirt and we keep a good layer of straw down, but the chicken poop seems to accumulate quickly, say every couple of weeks. I think the straw should be removed when it starts looking like a land mine of chicken poop, but hubby and I had a deal, I scoop the cat litter boxes and he cleans the coop out so I don't want to tell him when to clean it and I don't think he would like it if I did. His solution is to put down more straw another time or two until he is ready to clean it out. So I thought I would see how often others completely remove whatever it is that is put down for a flock and coop of approximately the same size. I just want to keep the girls healthy!

post #2 of 112

Hi becca, you may want to do a little BYC research on the deep litter method, sounds like it may suit your husband well lol . I have been using it for years and it works great.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=70

Home of the world's cutest dachshund, one crazy blue heeler, two cats,
              one fat pony, and many (but not too many!) chickens

              Can anyone tell me, how many are too many chickens?

 



My Chickens
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Home of the world's cutest dachshund, one crazy blue heeler, two cats,
              one fat pony, and many (but not too many!) chickens

              Can anyone tell me, how many are too many chickens?

 



My Chickens
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post #3 of 112

I clean the coop floor about never.  I use the deep litter method (DLM), with several inches of pine shavings, adding more every few weeks.  I usually dump 2 or 3 bales, one under each of two ladder roosts and one in the middle of the coop.  The chickens spread it around.

I change out pine shavings in the nest boxes every couple of weeks.

But I have an old garage transmogrified into a huge coop.  When I had smaller coops, I shoveled out each coop twice a year and replaced the litter.

-- Linda (AKA: gryeyes)
I refuse to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Buncha Outdoor PET chickens, ducks, five Toulouse geese, and four turkeys....so far. Plus 2 wiener dogs, some bunnies and a rescue cat which owns me. Oh. And a house silkie....

Grab some eggs & Join us! 
Great fun, Great Prizes & GREAT friends! 
5th Annual BYC Easter Hatch-a-long!

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-- Linda (AKA: gryeyes)
I refuse to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Buncha Outdoor PET chickens, ducks, five Toulouse geese, and four turkeys....so far. Plus 2 wiener dogs, some bunnies and a rescue cat which owns me. Oh. And a house silkie....

Grab some eggs & Join us! 
Great fun, Great Prizes & GREAT friends! 
5th Annual BYC Easter Hatch-a-long!

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post #4 of 112

Well I am a bit bigger I have 5 different coops in my barn but how i cut cost and keep clean is i spot clean every other day and spot cleaning is when you just clean up noticeable areas then every other week i do a full clean let them out and wash up the floors and nesting boxes then let it dry you wont have to do this but maybe take a broom to clean up better then lay fresh straw i also clean feeders and waters with a very little bleach in a lot of water and rinse 4-5 times then let dry i also have found if i mix straw and pine shaving it last longer and is better.

Ameraucana, orpington, D'uccle, Marrans, White plymouth rock, Russian orloffs, EE
Find us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100003102829901
or check us out online http://oldorchardfarms.weebly.com/index.html
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Ameraucana, orpington, D'uccle, Marrans, White plymouth rock, Russian orloffs, EE
Find us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100003102829901
or check us out online http://oldorchardfarms.weebly.com/index.html
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post #5 of 112

Deep litter method. Clean twice a year.

I live with my partner and our daughter in the foothills of NC. We LOVE our critters!
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I live with my partner and our daughter in the foothills of NC. We LOVE our critters!
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post #6 of 112

Have you considered using a droppings board??  Most of the droppings are probably accumulating beneath the roosts, and a dropping board takes care of that...makes clean ups pretty quick.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #7 of 112
Thread Starter 

Wow thanks for all the great replies! I'll look into the DLM or a droppings board.

post #8 of 112

We use Hay on the floor.  A pooper scooper is used daily.  And we add more hay. Once a year all hay is removed the Barn hosed down and all new hay put down.  Aria

Silkie Chickens Are A Joy
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Silkie Chickens Are A Joy
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post #9 of 112

Wow...I do a thorough bleaching and cleaning every two weeks.  I scrub down all walls, roosts, floor with a bleach or oxine solution and replace all bedding. 

For those of you using the deep litter method, how do you keep the roosts and the rest of the coop clean?

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, and all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God Made them all
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All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, and all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God Made them all
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post #10 of 112

I use odor as my guide to tell me when to clean.

The droppings board has made my life so much better. Before the board, I used to change the shavings once a month.  I would turn it every day, and add a few more scoops of shavings when turning the bedding wasn't enough.  After about 3 weeks it would start to smell a bit like feces and ammonia. sickbyc  So then I'd scoop all the shavings into a wheelbarrow and put in a new bag.

On Columbus Day weekend, we cleaned out all the shavings, painted the inside of the coop, and installed the droppings board.  I sprinkle a bit of shavings on the board to make sweeping it off easier, and I do that every other day.  I haven't had any smell in the coop since.  I've never used straw, but it sounds like it wouldn't soak up much moisture from the droppings and do much to reduce odor.  My coop is extremely dry, and it has an always-open big window in the front. 

We'll see what the winter is like, I'm not going to use the deep litter method, just change the shavings when they start to smell.  In the spring I'll clean it all out and paint another coat on the inside.  I don't foresee having to do this more than once a year.  It's stayed pretty clean since the board.


Edited by off-grid hen - 11/17/11 at 8:45am
Off the grid since 1998. Wife to a wonderful DH of 10 years, Mommy to a fantastic 7 year old little boy and 23 chickens. Partridge Rocks, Dominiques, Rose Comb Brown Leghorns, EE's Welsummer, and some mutts. I have also started raising meat birds.


My coop build thread
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/499098/woods-on-wheels-update-added-more-photos
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Off the grid since 1998. Wife to a wonderful DH of 10 years, Mommy to a fantastic 7 year old little boy and 23 chickens. Partridge Rocks, Dominiques, Rose Comb Brown Leghorns, EE's Welsummer, and some mutts. I have also started raising meat birds.


My coop build thread
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/499098/woods-on-wheels-update-added-more-photos
Reply
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