How do YOU deep clean your coop?

BigBlueHen53

Fragile, Beautiful, Strong
Premium member
Mar 5, 2019
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SE Missouri, USA
@woodmort and @noregerts: thank you. I was starting to feel ashamed and guilty!

We use shredded paper and a little pine shavings, both on the coop floor and in the nests. This is so absorbent I can stick my hand - my BARE hand - in the nests and rattle around to hunt for eggs that might have gotten buried, and not get poopy. And I wear gloves in the kitchen! The paper stays soft and fluffy, but we add some from time to time as it settles.

So the coop floor seldom needs cleaning. This material sucks moisture out of the chickens' droppings, which then drop to the floor as dry little pellets or even dust. About once a year we use a snow shovel to take it out to the garden where we till it into the soil, and put fresh paper and shavings in the hen house.
 

Chicken Heel

Songster
Jun 8, 2019
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I too am thankful for the posters that like me are "negligent" in their coop housekeeping. I will be cleaning out my Bantam hen coop this weekend after 1.5 years and that is only because I have noticed a whiff of ammonia when I open the coop door in the mornings this week. That is my normal cue for litter replacement as I usually just add straw as necessary.
 

Asimon3

Hatching
Oct 17, 2019
2
0
8
How do you manage your coop now that helps you keep from cleaning often?thanks!
I too am thankful for the posters that like me are "negligent" in their coop housekeeping. I will be cleaning out my Bantam hen coop this weekend after 1.5 years and that is only because I have noticed a whiff of ammonia when I open the coop door in the mornings this week. That is my normal cue for litter replacement as I usually just add straw as necessary.
I like this theory and management of the coop! I do still have ducks (5) and 24 chickens in a rather small coop (7x7x10 ft in height or so) so I do clean more often. I haven’t yet tried the system of just laying down more shavings vs cleaning it out. right now I replace shavings under their roosting areas once a week and floor shavings every 1-2 weeks. For winter I’d like to keep them warm and reduce work if possible. Any suggestions ? I was thinking of laying deep layer of shavings with dried pine needles on top and removing pine needles as needed. Last year the pine needles held together well when pooped on and I was able to life top layer up. Maybe it’d just be easier and better to lay more shavings over top of dirty shavings? I’m a little scared to do that because I’ve only ever cleaned it when dirty rather than lay over it! Thank you!
 

Asimon3

Hatching
Oct 17, 2019
2
0
8
I like this theory and management of the coop! I do still have ducks (5) and 24 chickens in a rather small coop (7x7x10 ft in height or so) so I do clean more often. I haven’t yet tried the system of just laying down more shavings vs cleaning it out. right now I replace shavings under their roosting areas once a week and floor shavings every 1-2 weeks. For winter I’d like to keep them warm and reduce work if possible. Any suggestions ? I was thinking of laying deep layer of shavings with dried pine needles on top and removing pine needles as needed. Last year the pine needles held together well when pooped on and I was able to life top layer up. Maybe it’d just be easier and better to lay more shavings over top of dirty shavings? I’m a little scared to do that because I’ve only ever cleaned it when dirty rather than lay over it! Thank you!
I don't. Geeze you people create more work for yourselves! My coop gets cleared in the spring--everything shoveled out and composted, floor scraped clean, sweep the walls and ceiling for cobwebs and lay down new pine shavings to about 6". After that I renew the shavings as needed. Since the birds spend a lot of time outside from about April to November the coop doesn't get that much manure and they keep things pretty much stirred up. In the fall I Just lay down more shavings. The composting manure under the roosts gives off some heat over the winter and keeps the birds warm--you get it too clean and you lose this.

I'm of the opinion that you can get things too clean. If you keep some "dirt" around you also keep up the immune system of the birds. The only time you really need a thorough cleaning and disinfection would be if there were some disease or pest problem that needed curing. If you practice good bio-security you can lessen this from happening and save yourself some work.

BTW, that being said, back in the day I kept ducks in with the chickens I did have to clean a couple of times over the winter because the ducks not only spread water everyplace but create messy, wet poop. That's one reason I no longer keep ducks.
 

Chicken Heel

Songster
Jun 8, 2019
267
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I like this theory and management of the coop! I do still have ducks (5) and 24 chickens in a rather small coop (7x7x10 ft in height or so) so I do clean more often. I haven’t yet tried the system of just laying down more shavings vs cleaning it out. right now I replace shavings under their roosting areas once a week and floor shavings every 1-2 weeks. For winter I’d like to keep them warm and reduce work if possible. Any suggestions ? I was thinking of laying deep layer of shavings with dried pine needles on top and removing pine needles as needed. Last year the pine needles held together well when pooped on and I was able to life top layer up. Maybe it’d just be easier and better to lay more shavings over top of dirty shavings? I’m a little scared to do that because I’ve only ever cleaned it when dirty rather than lay over it! Thank you!
My flocks of large breed hens and bantam hens (I keep them separated) do an excellent job of mixing the newly added straw in with the soiled straw and manure. I also put leaves in the coops in the fall but I make sure they are dry and not after a rain. The key for me has been keeping the coops as dry as possible which keeps the ammonia at bay. As for winterizing, the decomposition of the various organic materials appear to provide warmth. And I also have the litter at 6 - 12 inches thick which serves as added insulation.
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Like the other "lazy" ;) people on the thread, I don't do anything different for pre-winter cleaning. I just shovel out old bedding material into the run, and add new bedding. Just got done cleaning out the coop last week in fact! My schedule thus far has been coop cleaning in October and April (I chose those months to work around cold weather) and that seems more than sufficient for me.
 

Chicken Heel

Songster
Jun 8, 2019
267
803
121
I normally don't put the litter from the coops into the runs. It is too valuable and goes on my tomato garden spots and raised beds and over the winter everything breaks down nicely for the next spring's planting.
 
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