How often should the coop get cleaned?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by prairiehousewife, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. prairiehousewife

    prairiehousewife In the Brooder

    May 27, 2009
    Something I've struggled with since I got chickens is how often to clean the coop. I really wanted to try the deep litter method, but couldn't convince my hubby to do it. That's fine. But I'm wondering how dirty of a coop can the ladies handle. I suppose our coop is around 6x8 and we have 7 chickens in that. They have an outdoor run, of course, but I still wonder. I try to clean it about every 2 weeks. Is that enough? Could I go longer by adding more wood shavings? I try to scoop poo out of their nest boxes, where some of them sleep. And sometimes add a bit more wood shavings. I don't want to be too lazy with their living space, nor do I want to waste resources by being too clean. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. BWKatz

    BWKatz Songster

    May 22, 2010
    As long as it doesn't smell and ur girls aren't getting dirty ur fine.
  3. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    I clean my coop every morning after I let the girls out. It's so easy it only takes 10 mins. The run I clean 2-3 times a day depending on how much they poo. I like to keep on top of things with a clean coop and run. I used to also do the deep litter method, it was ok, but found if you keep it cleaned up as you go, it's so much easier. With deep litter, you have a deep, dusty mess in the Spring. I just got tired of it. If you only have 7 chickens, it wouldn't be that hard to clean it everyday.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The biggest thing is air quality. If you're getting humidity problems or if the coop smells ammonia-y when you first open it up in the morning, then you either need more ventilation or more cleaning or both.

    It is also a good idea to have enough dry matter in the bedding that fresh wet poop (especially those splorky cecal poos) will sort of get worked in and disappear. If you have too-damp too-skanky bedding it can sometimes turn into sort of "poo plaster", which is not a great idea.

    Beyond that though, it's largely between you and your conscience/tastes IMHO, with an eye kept on chickens' behavior and health. There are lots of different ways of doing it that are all basically equally okay. (Mind there are some BAD ways of managing coop cleaning too, but I am sure you would avoid those anyhow [​IMG])

    Note that a droppings board under the roost, and spending 10 seconds a day to scrape it off and remove the poo from the coop, goes a LONG way towards good air quality and cleaner bedding. Optional, but desirable IMO.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. barbieszoo

    barbieszoo Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    Stillwater, OK
    I don't know the answer yet, because I don't even have my 2 girls yet, but I have a question that is related so I thought I'd go ahead and ask it here too: What do you use to just pick out poo from pine shavings, i.e. from a nest, when you don't need to change out the whole coop's shavings yet? I'm one who wouldn't think it was all that gross to just pick it out by hand, as long as it was solid, since I'll only have 2 little banties, but that's probably completely unhealthy. [​IMG] Do you use a kitty litter scoop for that, or an old spoon, or what?

    Thanks, Kristy
  6. Yashar

    Yashar New Egg

    Oct 18, 2010
    Oak Hill, New York
    There are certain things you want to watch out for.
    Are they eating there poop?
    Are they "living" in it?
    There are bacteria counts that you don't want to get too large.
    You could keep their food off the ground, on a raised tabe/platform perhaps. That way you can clean it weekly and you can be certain the girs are not ingesting thing they would not be normally eating in the wild.
    This way you could buy yourself time in the other areas.

    One other thing I do is use leaves on the floor. after a few weeks they break down and can be put in the compost or directly in the garden. It works very well form me.

    One last thing I would mention is the poop hammock. It keeps things pretty clean in the coop.
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    why doesnt he want to do deep litter? Does he think it smells? Its actually easy and doesnt smell much at all. I clean in the spring, total, everything out. Lay down a few inches of bedding and add more every few weeks and mix. In the fall clean out most of it again, put down a few inches and every couple weeks add more and mix. As the winter goes on, add and mix. The decomposition will make some heat and adding and mixing keeps the smell at bay. By the end of winter I usually have 6-8 inches of material to clean out. Its so easy. As long as you dont have an ammonia smell they are fine and in the winter when they are inside a lot they scratch and mix it up themselves.

  8. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    Quote:Great advice! A dropping board cleaned daily, can really stretch out the times between a complete floor litter replacement. My hens are outside all day, so the main pooping in the coop goes on after they are on the roost. Spread some litter on the dropping board as well for easy clean up, and moisture absorption. [​IMG]
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I do actually pick it out by hand, along with a little bit of shavings surrounding the poo, if it is tidily-enough arranged to do so [​IMG]

    Alternatively you can put a plastic bag over your hand; or use a discarded kitchen utensil of various sorts; or just pitch all the nestbox filler out of the box and onto the coop floor (to add to that bedding) and replace with fresh stuff, whenever it gets pooed upon. Personal choice. I don't think there's even CLOSE to being a single right answer [​IMG]

  10. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    My neighbor keeps a box of latex gloves handy for the poop removal. I find a small garden spade works really well, as you can also scrape up any of the dried on poop.
    Personally I wouldn't use my bare hands to do it..just doesn't seem very hygienic, as you may be handling other things round the coop. Feed, water, door knobs, latches etc..
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010

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