Too clean equals bad? fact or fiction?

Farmer Connie

Gallus gallus domesticus
Feb 28, 2017
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A couple days ago DH & I visited a neighboring farm / friends of ours. The conversation came up about cleanliness of chicken houses, runs Etc.
Our friends are arguing the point that just like in humans there are good germs and bad germs. Some germs and bacteria you need, to boost and build your immune system in human beings. They argue that fact that chickens are the same way.
In other words you should not keep your poultry in picture perfect conditions but you should allow it to get somewhat dirty and clean only in intervals & not obsess over cleanliness.
I am a firm believer that germaphobes that use antibacterial hand soap and go about their lives afraid to get dirty are more susceptible to illness and can make a common cold turn into a severe cold just by hiding from germs and bacteria and not letting your immunity system grow stronger, but does that apply to chickens as well? Has anyone else had any thought on this subject?:pop
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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I think a deep cleaning in the spring, and regular changings of the bedding are good healthy practices. I don’t agree with just leaving it dirty, having poop and trash everywhere is not going to promote good bacteria. A clean natural environment will, but dirty one will just cause problems. I don’t think you should be going through the shavings with a plastic spoon to get all the poop or bleaching the coop though either, just regular bedding changes, washing watererers regularly, an annual deep clean, and moving the pen (if it’s moveable) every two months or so is fine. Don’t overkill with the cleaning, but don’t leave it filthy either.
 

BantyChooks

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If I don't smell it, it's good. If it starts to stink, clean it.

PS. I have a VERY sensitive schnoz. I can smell milk going bad 3 days before others can smell it.

Edit to add: I think, that way, it keeps the environment more natural, what would mimic their wild habitat.
x2... smell is bad, concentrated poop is bad, and sterile cages are also bad.
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Jul 6, 2016
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In nature Jungle Fowl aren't confined to a coop and run but our chickens mostly are. It's an unnatural situation created for the keeping of domestic animals and such an environment isn't self cleaning as natural habitat usually is. Diseases, parasites, pests like mice and rats, and even chemicals like ammonia will accumulate in a coop if it's left to its own devices. So, yes, I think cleanliness and sanitation are important in a coop and run. But as with anything it can be taken to extremes and this is counterproductive.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
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antibacterial hand soap
I wonder how long it will be anti bacterial if they build resistance?

And I wonder how long before the bacteria from your arm crawl back to your hands?

I think building some resistance is key. I bring in a clump from the pasture as early as possible for chicks at least by a week. My broody hatched babies are out there from day 1. Chicken poo happens. I think proper management is necessary! It keeps things in balance. Things like mites, lice, intestinal worm, coccidia. Anything allowed to be out of control is never a good thing.

I use a droppings board in my coop that gets cleaned once per week, sometimes less depending on the weather pattern. Wet poo smells terrible and gets things growing in it. Dry poo ain't delightful but it also isn't loaded with amonia. So it has a longer shelf life in summer than winter. It catches all night time dropping which is when the shooks spend their most amount of time pooing in there. I keep food and water out of my coop to reduce indoor waste. I change out nests that had broody's in them pretty good and refresh others as needed. I do kind of like shavings in the lay box better than hay. If it's gross it goes to a garden bucket, but if it's just old I toss it onto the coop floor which is a base of washed river sand (a little dustier than I would like). And as suggested might go to the garden yearly from the coop floor. I do have a lower roost which gets used on rainy days and when integrating younger or lower birds.

Outside the covered portion of the run has a forest floor type feel. Built up with dry grass, leaves and that type of stuff. Bare dirt invites disease. With a nice layer of not exactly compost (but ya compost), it's dry enough that it usually hides things before I see it. Any large poos sitting on top get picked up at least daily. I am fortunate to spend more time than needed with my birds! So I often walk at least the heavier used portions and the animal highways on my property at least twice per day. I realized that every time my neighbors drive by I'm standing out there with a poop scooper. What must they think of me. :hmm No I know, I do more than I think I do. For me, I'm just walking around kicking things over and and be followed by a parade of ladies with veracious appetites both for bugs and the enrichment. :)

No way do I kid myself into believing that I find every chicken poo. Nor do I think that there wasn't poo juice left behind that already soaked into the ground. :sick

But you better believe I'm gonna do my part to insure that things don't get out of whack. All situation will be unique. I have never bleached a pet bowl. If it grows green stuff from the sun or gets dirt stuck on, or even a poo floating...I simply use one of those dish scrubber sticks to scrub and then rinse with plain water.

I bleach my counter if I'm gonna roll dough or something. But if I'm using a cutting board, nah. I don't know we eat thing that were left out all night all the time. :oops: Like pizza, spaghetti, rice. Sometimes that depends on the season.

Ugh, my floors are so gross. But I'm not eating off of them. If I had a baby crawling around down there, I would make efforts to keep it clear. But then again, I've seen them pick a shoe up and put it straight in their mouths. :eek: They were none the worse for wear. But... I'm not about to try it.

Those with healthy immune system will have higher tolerance in general. So what work for one may not work for another. But standard soap has been shown as effective as anti bacterial. Why add more anti biotics (is that the same as anti bacterial?) into my families life and help to create more super strains of staph and other resistant things?
 

Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
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nature adhores a vacuum. an aerobic, probiotic micro biome is the best. the deep litter method does the trick pretty darn well. I dig out about once a year, mostly because I need the headroom. it is good to be able to clean out a coop and disinfect it if needed after a disease outbreak, so making it out of something easy to clean is probably a good idea. my meat bird section is above ground and on plastic, it can easily be swiped down with bleach if need be.
 

Farmer Connie

Gallus gallus domesticus
Feb 28, 2017
17,443
59,217
1,257
Florida Peninsula
My Coop
My Coop
A couple days ago DH & I visited a neighboring farm / friends of ours. The conversation came up about cleanliness of chicken houses, runs Etc.
Our friends are arguing the point that just like in humans there are good germs and bad germs. Some germs and bacteria you need, to boost and build your immune system in human beings. They argue that fact that chickens are the same way.
In other words you should not keep your poultry in picture perfect conditions but you should allow it to get somewhat dirty and clean only in intervals & not obsess over cleanliness.
I am a firm believer that germaphobes that use antibacterial hand soap and go about their lives afraid to get dirty are more susceptible to illness and can make a common cold turn into a severe cold just by hiding from germs and bacteria and not letting your immunity system grow stronger, but does that apply to chickens as well? Has anyone else had any thought on this subject?:pop
Before the thread gets any deeper I neglected to add in the OP that the conversation was about adult birds. And obviously young chicks Etc don't have the built up immunity system yet and they need more care.
Now we (DH & I) were on the cleanliness side of that conversation with our friends. But not on the obsessive clean Etc.
Our friends were more of the messy Marvin's on the counter point situation & that's what prompted the conversation.
I am a firm believer in clean nesting boxes obviously for multi reasons. As well as the ground especially in food areas within the houses. But as far as perches and the Run are concerned, I am more lapse on cleanliness on those particular areas. Although I am not a neat freak I like to keep a tight ship.
 
Last edited:

BantyChooks

Pullarius
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Before the thread gets any deeper I neglected to add in the OP that the conversation was about adult birds. And obviously young chicks Etc don't have the built up immunity system yet and they need more care.
Now we (DH & I) were on the cleanliness side of that conversation with our friends. But not on the obsessive clean Etc.
Our friends were more of the messy Marvin's on the counter point situation & that's what prompted the conversation.
I am a firm believer in clean nesting boxes obviously for multi reasons. As well as the ground especially in food areas within the houses. But as far as perches and the Run are concerned, I am more lapse on cleanliness on those particular areas. Although I am not a neat freak I like to keep a tight ship.
Clean nesting boxes are a definite yes.
 
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