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how dirty are chickens really?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by norahsmommy, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. norahsmommy

    norahsmommy In the Brooder

    I am a super tidy person, and my hubby finally convinced me to raise chickens. I probably would be doing most of the work, so my question is, how dirty are they really? Will it be really hard to keep their coop clean and keep the birds healthy? I want to do this right and have a tidy as can be reasonably managed coop, and healthy birds. Hubby told me chickens are disgusting and dirty but they have alot of good points like meat and eggs and they aren't too hard to care for. His dad who used to have a small farm, said the same thing. They laugh when I say I want to keep the coop tidy. They said its going to be crusty and gross and just to not look too hard when I go in there. I am realistic, I know the birds will poo on everything. How do you keep your coop clean, how often to you muck it out, do you scrap the poo off stuff on a regular basis? What is the best method for having a tidy healthy coop?

  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I don't think they're disgusting or dirty at all! Well, yeah, okay, they poop on everything, but that's the only nasty part.

    If you choose to use the deep litter method in your coop, you'll only be cleaning it out 2 or 3 times a year. This is what I do, and the coop doesn't stink at all. Just rake the litter around every day in the coop.

    Every day, scrape the poo off the roosts.

    In the summer, you'll probably need to invest in or make fly traps because they do attract lots of flies.
  3. jbowyer01

    jbowyer01 Just Me!

    Aug 29, 2008
    Hogansville, Georgia
    I keep my coop pretty neat. I clean it by scraping everything and scrubbing their roosts once a week (my DH built them for easy removal). I lay them in the sun and I keep my pine shavings stirred up with DE to help keep things dry and pretty much smell free. Chickens do poo alot, I mean alot! But for the most part its easy and no more difficult than any other animal that we have.
  4. bkbuz1987

    bkbuz1987 In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2008
    You can always put diapers on your chickens [​IMG] (kidding)

    Orrrrr, if you really, really want a super clean coop you will have to clean it multiple times a day.

    I clean mine every morning. I have a drop boards under the two roosts and over night they make a big mess. (I only have 11 chickens) My drop board is covered with cheap peel and stick tile for easy scraping and pine shavings for easy cleaning. I have two putty knifes and a dust pan for cleaning and scraping. I scrape the roosts if it gets pooped on. I do a good cleaning once a week or so with a disinfectant (Oxine) I started doing that after I lost a bird and another became ill.

    Over the winter I will be using the deep littler method to help keep the coop warm. I use DE and pine shavings and that helps with smell. Some mornings it REALLY stinks in there and other mornings, not so much. I think it depends on what kind of treat they had.

    Birds in general are messy, but they are also very fun to have.
  5. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    If you have over 10 chickens, you will have a bit of work to keep the shavings fresh in the coop.

    I'm a neatnik, so I have only four hens, and it's really easy to scoop their poo from under the roost every morning. Scooping saves money on shavings and keeps the air in the coop fresh.

    In the run, their poo generally dries up and doesn't smell. Several days of rainy weather can be miserable in that regard though.

    The only part of our girls that are truly dirty is their big clomping feet! They're always dirty! But you just wear old jeans if you want them to sit on your lap.

    Good luck.
  6. I only have 3 girls. I have a small Chick N Barn and use the deep litter method. They really and truly hardly smell. I'm a stickler for being tidy as well and my girls are pretty clean. I don't really even have to spend that much time cleaning. I just add shavings from time to time and stir the litter around inside their little barn.

    I don't have dropping boards to clean and there isn't really anything they can poop on besides the floor of their coop (deep litter method) and the run.

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy your chickies and that with a small amount of time invested they will stay fresh! [​IMG]
  7. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I have 3 white leghorns and I thought they would get alot dirtyer than I expected. There was one day when one of my pullets decided to "mud"bathe. Instead of a white chicken I had a brown/black chickens LOL. But other wise their very clean birds.

  8. Put in a wide droppings board under your roost (I put nests under mine). Scrape it off every day, and things stay pretty darned tidy in the coop. I have 14 chickens in the coop & two long roosts/droppings boards.


    ETA: there's a blue tarp under the shavings so I can roll up all the shavings out at once to bring them out, every few months as needed.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  9. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    I'm not a neatnik, but I couldn't handle the deep litter method. Just knowing all those turds were in there milling about was more than I could handle. I deep littered for all of two weeks. I clean every 7-10 days and it's not so bad. Everything is whitewashed thickly on the inside and I toss down some DE every time I clean, so messy spots come up pretty easily with a little scraping. The guinea house is another matter altogether. I've been deep littering in there for a few months now, since I couldn't get inside without causing popcorn guineas (use your imagination). The guineas have been outside for more than a week now and I have resisted the urge to clean. I really isn't so bad with their poo as most of it is quite dry. I still add DE and new shavings weekly. Maybe I'll make it to summer.
  10. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    You will need to dust occasionally. We use an old broom to reach the ceiling of our hen house (part of our barn) and use a hand brush for the roosts, walls, tops of the nest boxes. Even with a slanted top, the dust will collect on the nest boxes.

    We muck the barn daily in good weather and twice a day if the flock has been stuck inside the barn all day due to inclement weather. We use a kitty litter scoop to pick up clumps of poo and scrape the boards under the roosts. It is also great for removing clumps from the kiddie pool we use for their dust bath area in the barn. It is filled with sand, DE, some dirt and wood chips.

    I think a little clean up everyday is best. We remove all the roosts, shavings, bedding around Memorial Day. The nesting and flooring materials go to the compost heap and the roosts and dropping boards go outside. We completely sweep & dust, then disinfect the entire hen house. Then we disinfect the roosts and boards and let them dry in the sun before returning them. We use deep litter from October through May, but during the summer, we only keep an inch or two of bedding down.

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