Cleaning an old coop

LeezyBeezy

Songster
9 Years
Mar 13, 2010
439
0
119
Lancaster PA
We moved to a farm in Maine in December. The previous owners had chickens, but the farm has been empty for almost 2 years. The coop is big, 7'Hx 15'W x 24'L. The nestbox is five boxes wide and three deep. It sits on the floor. It is quite dirty, and looks like the chickens roosted on the top. It is sturdy though, and I'm wondering if it needs some sort of cleaning, besides a good scraping. I have a power washer, but should I consider some sort of soap/bleach? We will probably be moving the coop to another area in the barn, due to some restoration needed in the barn (it is leaning to that side and we want to pull it straight). When we move it, if we keep this nesting box, I want to back it up to a wall so I can get the eggs without going inside. Should the lowest box for off the coop floor?

This part of Maine has very gritty, sandy soil. The coop floor is dry and dusty now, with matted droppings (and maybe shavings, it's hard to tell). It all just looks sandy, as the back part of the barn has a dirt (i.e. sand) floor. Once I dig the old stuff out, do I need to disinfect the floor? I haven't heard anything from the neighbors, as far as the previous chickens being sick or anything, but I just want to get off to a good start. My first ever peeps arrive in May, so I have some time to get ready! thanks.
 

gsim

Songster
10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
1,997
36
196
East Tennessee


Sounds like quite a project. Use a dust mask or bandanna at all times. The dust could really cause lung/bronchial troubles. I do not think I would be too concerned about any residue that is that old. You could wash it using clorox or lysol solution with hot water and allow it to air dry for a long spell. It would be a good time to put underlayment down , say 1/4" OSB and then linoleum over that. If so, then caulk the edge all around to seal it to the wall base. Makes future cleanups/litter changes a breeze.

Regards nests, I set mine all at 24" ht on blank wall (north wall) opposite roosts which I set at 48" ht for all of them. No roost is higher than another. Eliminates lots of fighting/pecking. Since I have a walk-in coop, my nests are inside. As big as your coop is, I see no need for a bumpout nest box, unless you want additional storage space inside?

Do build a poop board. Make it 24" wide and equal length of roost. Make it removable. Mine just sits on two arms, and is 24" off floor. My chooks just hop up to it on their way to the roost. Set roost 12" from wall. Make poop board of 1/2" OSB and glue linoleum on top. Scrape daily
to keep your litter clean and the coop from being stinky. Catch it in a plastic box/bin with a lid and carry to garden or compost every 3 days or so.


Take long breaks, short puffs, laugh a lot, and work safely.
 
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fasbendera

Songster
10 Years
Jan 30, 2009
620
2
139
Midwest
I made my nest box and the first "roof" I put on didn't have a steep enough pitch. It would be easy to add a ledger board above your nest box on the wall and tack a piece of plywood to the front edge of the nest box. I don't know the exact pitch of mine I could go measure the height at the back and the depth of the box and it could give you an idea. If you want PM me I would be happy. I haven't had a chicken dropping on top since and I like it that way.



I have lowered my nest box since this picture was taken and raised the height of my roosts. The nest boxes are now poo free and only contain eggs. I think I am going to paint it this year. It was made completely from scrap wood we had laying around.
 
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patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
245
341
Ontario, Canada
Absolutely for real wear a GOOD dust mask the whole time, and open as many windows/doors as possible. It is not about annoyance or discomfort, there are several serious health problems you can wind up with.

For the nestbox, I'd just clean it as well as possible (damp cloths laid on 'crusty stuff' can help soften it for removal) and let it sit in the sun for a week.

If you are moving the coop to a different part of the barn, the floor may not be as much of an issue. If you are concerned, though, you can scratch some lime (like the kind you would lime a garden or pasture with, NOT quicklime) into the top layer of the dirt, not so much as to be dusty.

If you will be raising chicks in a barn previously occupied by other chickens it would be worth considering using medicated chick starter, as you pretty much KNOW there will be coccidia of various types around.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 

LeezyBeezy

Songster
9 Years
Mar 13, 2010
439
0
119
Lancaster PA
My husband and I both have respirators to use. I've read about respiratory problems due to feahers, and really don't want to inhale all the [email protected]!!
(pun intended)Thanks for the info on the height of roosts and boxes. The previous owners only had one short roost, which is probably why they used the nesting box top. ick. I'm going outside now to pull the nest box out and sit in the sunshine. I'll show my husband the pitch of your roof that you pictured, and he should be abl to eye-ball it! thanks.

I already clued hubby in the need for a poo board- great thinking and pretty practical. We have a big area for composting, so that should work out OK. That floor though -ugh. I will read up on what all of you are doing out there for floors.

I'm really bummed we have to move the coop, though. It's already set up! It's south facing, protected from wind, has windows- blah blah blah. The only thing we need to do it put in an outside run.

I ordered my chicks from McMurrays and they will all be vaccinated for Marek's and that other one- the one that can live in soil for years. I forget what it's called. So, if what I understand is correct, I don't need the medicated feed.

OK- off to the barn. Thanks for the input, and I'll keep you posted. -- Lee
 

fasbendera

Songster
10 Years
Jan 30, 2009
620
2
139
Midwest
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=243217

Post # 6 is the dropping board set up I am going to use. It just looks to easy not to use and the trays are plastic so a hose will clean them off when they need it. Good luck. I got 50% of my chicks from McMurray and this last year because of availability I tried Ideal and I am very happy with both. I am not a breeder and just a backyard chicken owner and I am really enjoying them still and it is year five.
 

gsim

Songster
10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
1,997
36
196
East Tennessee
Leezy-Beezy, please do try to find junked/discarded kitchen countertops. Check Craigslist or even call remodeling contractors. They haul off old countertops all of the time. Galvanzed steel makes good ones, but poop freezes to them far easier than to formica over plywood/osb. Old smooth formica counter tops are the greatest natural poop boards ever. You can't make a better one. Must be smooth formica though, not textured and definitely not ceramic tiled! And they even have a splashboard at the back, which will come in handy as you will see!
 
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