How often do you clean your coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WestVermont, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. WestVermont

    WestVermont Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2012
    Bennington, Vermont
    I am fairly new to backyard chicken keeping and wanted to know how often you clean your coop. Currently my chickens are still in the brooder about to go out to a coop and I was wondering how often coops are cleaned and if you wish to share more what you do when you need to do this chore?
  2. CastleFarmUK

    CastleFarmUK Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2013
    Welsh Boders UK.
    The answer to this question is easy. Just before it gets dirty.

    Any droppings in the litter at the bottom of the coop harbour all sorts of problems that while your birds are sleeping/roosting will filter up in the air around the birds as the air in the coop warms up from the birds being in there. Without proper ventilation the air gets loaded with bacteria and the birds inhale it.

    Ammonnia build up will damage the lungs of the birds.

    Coccidosis and microplasma are spred in the dropping and ingested by birds pecking at it and carrying it around on thier feet.

    The cleaner the coop the healthier the birds will be.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Our barn pens are rather large. We can get by with cleaning under the roosts, for an "in between" cleanup, but once a month, a complete and thorough cleaning is called for. The manure goes out to the garden fields in the off season and onto a compost pile during the growing season.

    You might want to investigate what is called the Deep Litter method, in which one only "cleans" out the coop once or twice a year. I don't believe this works well, in my experience, unless the floor is soil based, sand or dirt.
  4. Izzymoon

    Izzymoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2012
    My Coop
    twice a week for 5 hens
  5. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    I have 9 chickies:) I scoop the poop board on a daily basis, and fluff up the shavings/hay daily as well..I also keep the litter quite deep and if I see droppings on the floor I scoop them up.

    I do a thorough cleaning , removing all litter etc, every 3 months or so..I just did it the middle of November now won't do it again until spring..
  6. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2012
    Ditto what Jakoda just said except I use pine shavings (soon to be switching to rice hulls). It takes less than a minute everyday to keep it clean and not only is it a good environment thereafter for the girls but it also gives me a clear picture of what their feces is like right now - so I'm always on top of things.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I think you’ll find that there is no one answer to about anything to do with chickens. We keep them in so many different conditions with so many different management techniques that there are many possible answers. You need to look at people that have conditions similar to you and try to pick the one that seems to suit you. And be flexible. Don’t be afraid to try something different if what you are doing isn’t working real well.

    I cleaned mine out for the first time in four years this past fall. Not because I needed to but because I wanted to get that stuff on my garden. I have a big walk-in coop with pine shavings on the floor. I don’t shoehorn the maximum number of chickens in it but give them a lot of space. Mine spend most of their time outside the coop. I’ve got really good ventilation and the coop stays pretty dry. I’m out in the country where a bit of a smell would not be a problem, but I really don’t have a problem with smell.

    I did clean out the accumulated poop under the roosts every two or three months to put on my compost pile. About a year ago I put a permanent brooder under the roosts so I can use the top as a droppings board so I can more efficiently get that stuff in my compost. I clean that droppings board about every two or three weeks, depending on how many chickens I have sleeping in there. Since I’m now more efficient using the poop in my compost it may be ten years before I clean it out again.

    As you can tell, I’m not a fanatic about providing a sterile environment. I believe my chickens are healthier if they live in a more natural environment. I think they are better able to withstand diseases if they are exposed and allowed to build up immunities.

    What I do may not suit you at all but maybe you can get something useful out of this. Good luck and welcome to the adventure.
    2 people like this.
  8. jester8484

    jester8484 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 15, 2012
    Conowingo, Maryland
    My Coop
    i have a 10x8 coop. with a roof vent, and side window vents open year round. interior walls to block a direct draft on the hens(10, now 9 cause of an attack)

    I fully clean out all the pine shavings about once a month.and then in the winter I won't clean it at all for dec and jan just ad more shavings and turn the bedding,

    I'm in the coop regularly and put my head in the roost to check for any ammonia smell and have yet to catch a trace including 90* heat summer days.. I believe I have a functional set up to keep it vented, but the wals are insulated and theres an internal divider to keep the draft off the hens. I don't have a poop board I installed a poop tray to pul out like a small bird cage has in the bottom.

    so in short , fully cleaned once a month, fresh bedding fresh nest boxes, fresh straw in the run/cage. all the waste goes to the compost pile but i struggle to keep the hens out of the compost, seems there's plenty of bugs to be had :D
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  9. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    I only have 7 chickens in my coop and I clean it every 2-3 weeks. I dust it and everything.
  10. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Poop board (almost) daily and heavy cleaning once a year just before I plant the garden. I usually have a dozen hens but at present I am down to 6 hens and 1 rooster. I had a few challenges with foxes, raccoons, and coyotes. I do not have a dog any more so me and Winchester are left to patrol the premises.( I had to put Benji dog down). I have a momma back bear in the mix with 2 cubs but she seems to mind her own business and we have been getting along great for 5 or 6 years. I too use the deep litter however with only 6 hens this winter things are frozen stiffer than a poker out in the coop not enough manure to keep things soften and stirred up. April and May will look after that problem.

    My coop this week!


    My coop this summer with a back yard visitor.


    I am going to switch my hens over to this smaller coop for the winter.
    It is insulated. I am going to keep them there permanently.

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013

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