Cleaning the hen house? How often?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by festivefeet, May 6, 2009.

  1. festivefeet

    festivefeet Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    I have a 4 X 5 hen house and wondered how often I should clean it to avoid heavy smell and prevent sickness in my birds? I have six chickens.


  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    People clean their coops anywhere from weekly to once or twice a year. Depends what litter you are using and whether you are using any version of the deep litter method.

    The FAQ page might help you sort this out.
  3. festivefeet

    festivefeet Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    What is the best litter to use? I have been using pine shavings. If so, how often do I change that? To prevent high stink how often do I change the litter?

    I figured to prevent illness I would need to do it every week. When they were in the house, I was doing it every other day in the brooder.

  4. mottyh

    mottyh Hatching

    May 7, 2009
    I want to use my chicken's manure for my vegetable garden fertilizer - how do i prepare it before adding it to my garden's soil?
    Anybody familiar with this??
  5. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    Quote:Big, ugly compost pile! Toss in some weeds and plant trimmings and you got a cocktail that your garden will love. Make sure it sits until it's no longer recognizable as its former components. You will need to turn it periodically. Some folks go a year, some less. I find that all that poo really speeds the composting process along.
  6. emilyweck

    emilyweck Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Eugene, Oregon
    I clean my same sized coop with 6 chickens every week. I don't do the deep litter method, just because I don't quite understand it. I use straw as bedding and they love it. I'm sure your shavings are good, also.

    I can't stand the wiff I get every time I open the door to let them out, so....weekly cleaning it is for my girls.
  7. antlers

    antlers Songster

    Jun 20, 2008
    East Cent Minnesota
    Quote:About the same here. Unofficial gauge? When I walk in the coop and it sticks to my shoes its time to clean.

  8. Ol'FashionHen

    Ol'FashionHen Songster

    Oct 24, 2008
    The South
    my coop is 10x16 I do the deep litter method with 2 bags of pine shavings. I have linoleum floors and I scrape the floor and clean out as much poo once a week. Then take out all shavings and replace once a month. I have 24 chickens and find the floor stays cleaner and dryer with the deep litter. I live in KY were the rate for Histoplasmosis is high so I strive to keep the poo dry and out as much as possible. That is why I also let them free range lots too so there is no build up of poo in one spot.

    edited for spelling
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  9. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Myyy coop is about 17x13 and I've cleaned it so far since October when the girls first went into it probably 6 times (going on 7 this coming weekend cause its getting stinky). We have the front window open 24/7 and it hardly ever smells except in the winter when I have to close it during cold cold cold temps. Occasionally I pick out the bedding like you would with a horse stall, usually around the waterer and roosts. I have 15 chickens.
  10. Pug Momma

    Pug Momma In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    Auburn, WA
    I have a 6x9 (apprx - I should really measure it one of these days!) coop for my three ladies and I use the deep litter method where I start with 2 inches of hay and pine shavings and a dusting of DE (mix it up a little) and then every two weeks I add a dusting of pine shavings and DE (mix it up). The DE helps desiccate the poop and the vermin that try an get in.
    I have no smell and I find the poop just gets covered up when they scratch around for corn and oats that I throw in there. Y'know - nature's mixer? Chicken feet!
    Also - I am going to only clean my coop once a year in the Spring - b/c the thinking is that the litter method builds up, the bedding on the bottom starts heating up as it decomposes - thus heating the coop, and creating an already started *hot* compost that you can add to your compost pile in the spring for it to heat up during the summer - great compost by fall when your beds need it.
    So far so good. No smell and chickens are healthy. *knock wood*! Oh, yeah - and I started with a dirt and pea gravel floor.

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