Cleanliness and Hygiene: Best practices?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 21stCenturyMom, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. 21stCenturyMom

    21stCenturyMom In the Brooder

    Aug 24, 2014
    Total newbie here, and am looking for information about how you keep your coop clean, as well as other hygienic practices you do to keep you and your chickens healthy. We've got 24 little fluffy butts in our brooder and want to keep them (and us) from getting sick!

    For example, we do the obvious such as washing hands after handing the chicks and cleaning the brooder. But when you handle things with chicken droppings on/in it, do you wear gloves (e.g., changing their water? their food?)

    Do you have a dedicated pair of "chicken boots" that you wear when you are in the coop? An apron?

    When you do the once-a-year thorough scrub down of the coop, do you wear a mask? What do you use to clean the coop - water and bleach? A special disinfectant?

    Do gathered eggs require cleaning? Storage in the fridge or on the counter?

    Am hoping to get some feedback from experienced chicken keepers, as well as those with other animals like horses, cows, etc. as this all seems to be tied up in good animal husbandry practices. I know everyone has their own tolerances as to what is "clean" versus "unclean", but would love to hear about some solid basics.

    Shelmo88 likes this.
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    I think gloves are a little excessive unless I'm dealing with a sick animal of a really gross mess (but then I have friends who wear gloves in their kitchen when prepping food which I think is nuts, so I'm at the extreme opposite end from germaphobe).
    I have garden clogs I wear for everything outside because I don't want to track chicken poop, dog poop, or dirt all over the house.

    That's a personal choice. I'm probably too lax on the mask issue as I hate them. If it's dusty, I at least use a bandana over my mouth and nose. There are LOTS of different approaches to coop cleaning. Some people like bleach, some like organic, home made stuff (vinegar or vodka with herbs and citrus in it; see blogs like The Chicken Chick or Fresh Eggs Daily for suggestions), some like farm/poultry products like Poultry Protector.
    They only require cleaning if they poop on them (which probably means your hens are sleeping in the nesting boxes which you don't want them to do!). Mostly a quick dry brush is enough and doesn't remove the "bloom" which is the natural barrier that keeps them safe from bacteria. If you go through a lot of eggs, you can keep them on the counter (an egg skelter helps you to always use the oldest one first). But they'll last longer and stay fresher if you keep them in the fridge.

    There's tons of info on this site for all these topics (seriously, no matter what I Google, I always get led back here, LOL!). There are also a lot of good books out there. As a research addict, I bought a bunch recently when I decided to get chickens. So far, A Chicken in Every Yard is my favorite.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Best practices will vary hugely if you are healthy vs. if you have a damaged immune system. I wash up but don't wear gloves all the time. I do wear a good dust mask when dusting the coop or birds, or when cleaning the coop. It's DUSTY and not safe to inhale. I do wash the eggs and refrigerate them for eating. Boots worn at the barn and coop don't get worn anywhere else. I'm very careful about biosecurity and my flock! No critter kisses my lips, either. Ugh! Mary
    1 person likes this.

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