Chicken Heel

Songster
Jun 8, 2019
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In my 5 decades of keeping chickens, I have never once disinfected a chicken coop before adding new ones. I believe being exposed to potential pathogens actually makes the chickens healthier in the long run. I clean the litter out as necessary only when I get a whiff of ammonia and otherwise add straw as needed. My current Bantam coop is going on 1.5 years without changing the litter. The key is keeping their living quarters as dry as possible.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Feb 2, 2009
26,173
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Southeast Louisiana
In my 5 decades of keeping chickens, I have never once disinfected a chicken coop before adding new ones. I believe being exposed to potential pathogens actually makes the chickens healthier in the long run. I clean the litter out as necessary only when I get a whiff of ammonia and otherwise add straw as needed. My current Bantam coop is going on 1.5 years without changing the litter. The key is keeping their living quarters as dry as possible.
I strongly agree. I keep my coop dry enough that I only empty it out every five years or so. I don't need to then but I want that stuff on my garden in the fall so it is ready for spring planting. I use droppings boards and put that pure poop in my compost pile so I limit how much poop is actually in th ecoop.

But others have to empty their coops much more often. Your chicken density, how you manage poop from the roosts where it tends to build up, how humid your climate is let alone how dry your coop is, how much time they spend outside instead of in the coop, and several other factors give us all different answers to this.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
88,141
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SW Michigan
My Coop
Just scrape it off as best as you can, no need to do it all at once.
A dust mask might not be a bad idea.

What would be signs of mites? Seeing them on the bird? They are missing some feathers lately but I attributed that to moulting as it seemed to correspond to a drop in egg production.
Both the feathers and the egg drop are likely due to time of year.

I wouldn't spray for bugs unless you see them.

Bug check notes:
Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?

Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.

Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
 
May 27, 2019
667
1,058
262
Smithville, MO
We bought a house with coops already in the land. And coops is a very loose term. We ended up tearing them all down. They didn’t use bedding or anything. There were some places several feet deep of poop. Luckily it made great garden soil. Lol
My only suggestion is to make sure the wood isn’t rotted from the years of neglect.
 

Beaglegal

Songster
Sep 8, 2019
1,042
2,519
231
Western Washington
Just scrape it off as best as you can, no need to do it all at once.
A dust mask might not be a bad idea.


Both the feathers and the egg drop are likely due to time of year.

I wouldn't spray for bugs unless you see them.

Bug check notes:
Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?

Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.

Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).
Do I need to check all the birds or just a sampling?
 

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