Cleaning the poop, uh, I mean coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fluffychicksmomma, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. fluffychicksmomma

    fluffychicksmomma Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2010
    We have 5 Silkie hens and a coop that is big enough for10 easily. I say this partly because although my husband made 6 laying/nesting boxes, they ALL try to cram into 1 every night. And they almost succeed! [​IMG] They are also in the coop only at night, they stay in the run or free-range in the yard the rest of the time. Anyway, my 16 yr old daughter wanted these chickens as her "pets". The deal is, I buy all their food and supplies, she is supposed to take total care of them and that includes of course, cleaning their coop. She is not known for her thoroughness or real cleanliness when doing a job, much to the chagrin of my husband and I. No matter how many times you tell her AND show her, she still tries to find the quickest way to do a job. I keep telling her she is going to have a rude awakening when she tries to go get a real job for which she expects to get paid!
    Anyway, my real question is, how often does the coop need to be entirely cleaned/scraped out and have new shavings put down? My main concern is that I don't want the chickens getting some type of respiratory illness from the ammonia from the droppings, (or whatever it is that can cause that .) It doesn't seem to be something that needs done daily, maybe because its much more spacious than they need, and its not stinky, but just wondering if theres some rule of thumb. Thanks! [​IMG]
  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    I do some kind of cleaning my coop about every two weeks. I tend to just keep an eye on it, and when it looks like it is getting gross, I will give it a clean. After a number of surface cleans, I will get in there and give the coop a deep clean. It helps to use DE, and stall dry. It helps to keep the very gross stuff drying out. I have observed that everyone has a different answer to the question. some people seem to keep their coops extremely clean and others think unbelievably disgusting is okay. Chickens well be fine with certain amount of gross stuff, but it is essential to not allow it to smell of ammonia. High ammonia levels will cause respiratory ailments fairly quickly in birds.
  3. fluffychicksmomma

    fluffychicksmomma Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2010
    Thanks, that helps! : )
  4. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    U could have a couple of squares of indoor outdoor carpet . I shake mine off daily and wash usually weekly.
  5. fluffychicksmomma

    fluffychicksmomma Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2010
    Wow! Thanks, that is a great idea! I think my daughter will really like the idea as well, since it will be easier for her and she will therefore do it more often. Now why don't I think of things like that!? Thank you, thank you! [​IMG]
  6. aubreynoramarie

    aubreynoramarie designated lawn flamingo

    May 27, 2010
    Reno, Nevada
    i read somewhere that you can go six months without replacing the shavings if you rake them often...
    i seriously wouldnt go that long, but i could see someone reusing them for two months IF they raked them daly...

    i have a small coop so i clean and turn my stuff every week and replace my shavings every two weeks.

    but by smal i mean SMALL
  7. dondon

    dondon Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 18, 2010
    i pick the poo out every day (only takes 5 mins for my 4 hens) then clean it out totally every month and spray wit poultry shield and sprinkle D.E in the nesting box etc. [​IMG]
  8. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I have a 12 X 12 coop with 40+ birds. It gets thoroughly cleaned down to bare floor once a year--in the spring. At that point I toss in three big bales of pine shavings. Once or twice during the year I'll add a bale or two of shavings. Other than that the birds scratch around and keep things turned over and there isn't an ammonia problem. In fact, the only odor comes when I spread the manure on the garden and it gets wet before I get it tilled under. BTW, the composting that takes place by leaving the manure there supplies some heat during the winter so it isn't just a case of being lazy--but of not being a slave to my chickens by doing unnecessary jobs.

    That being said, if I had a teenager that I wanted to teach responsibility I might have them clean it more often just to give them something to do and keep them out of trouble [​IMG]
  9. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I had 3 hens in a 6 by 8 shed and used to clean and wash down the shed once a month.Except in the winter I did a final clean in November then put a bag or 2 of shavings.Mixed it up till spring. If there is a roost poop area then you can clean that daily. Now I have 8 hens and I spot clean daily,but only clean out the shavings say every other month.In the summer I do a major wash down and disinfect.

    I also put straw out in the run and replace that every so often.

    Set up something for your dd and if she can not/will not then sell the birds.
  10. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2010
    My Coop
    Question, Small Chicken Tractor (4X6 and 5' tall), coop area is 3X4 and 3' tall.
    Coop area is dry, no smell.
    Run area is a bit damp (1/2 inch of rain last night) and a bit smelly. Its just grass (soon to be dirt, I'm sure)
    They freerange during the day but hang out in the run area too. (Food and water is there)

    What should I put on the ground? How to keep it "clean"? (won't be as much of a problem in summer, I will just move it)

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