Who cleans out feathers from their coop and/or run?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Back2Roots, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Back2Roots

    Back2Roots Songster

    Mar 19, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    On a chicken keeping blog I follow, someone recently posted that we should clean out feathers from the coop because they don't absorb moisture and it may encourage feather picking during the winter months when hens may get bored.
    I do scoop out poop under the roost regularly, but is it really necessary to remove every last feather that makes an appearance in the coop? I can understand if there are a lot of them laying about when the hens molt, but for the odd one here and there, does it really matter if they are just left until bedding cleanup? I do a pretty decent cleanup of bedding quite regularly anyway.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Did they mean just in the coop or everywhere? I can't imagine what it would be about having feathers on the floor or ground would cause feather picking. Feather picking is usually from a need for protein and boredom from being too closely confined. What about feathers on the ground and floor affects that?

    Also, they don't absorb moisture but they don't add moisture so that's a net neutral.

    If one has 100 chickens, removing feathers would be a full time job.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Is it really necessary? I don't do it. I image if you poll the members of this forum you would be hard pressed to find half a dozen that do. I don't consider it necessary or even useful.
  4. senorita05

    senorita05 In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2013
    I do. Not because my chickens molt a lot, but because whenever I clean their coop, I just like doing a proper job of it. So when I am cleaning it, all the feathers get cleaned up too.
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Well, when I clean the coop, everything comes out including vacuuming the cobwebs and washing dust from the walls. But, between cleanings, about every 3 or 4 months, the feathers stay there till the next cleanout.
  6. Back2Roots

    Back2Roots Songster

    Mar 19, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:That’s what I was wondering too. I think the blogger was referring to the coop in particular, not necessarily the run, but I haven’t noticed my chickens showing any interest at all in feathers on the ground, or on each other, for that matter. However, this is my first year with chickens and we haven’t gone through a winter together yet. ;-) They do get plenty of protein in their diet and at the moment have a lot of space in a large run, plus regular evening outings into the yard. I only have 8 chickens - 2 older hens, two pullets that just started laying and the rest are juveniles – and I only pick up feathers in the coop when I clean out poop from under the roosts every day or two. Even then, they can sometimes be quite elusive when it comes to picking them out, so I’ll admit it’s often not a very thorough job because I don’t have the patience to chase them all over.
    Quote:Same here. Unless I'm missing something, like they harbor all kinds of nasty germs or cause respiratory problems for the chickens. None of mine are doing a serious molt though, so it's not like there's a sea of feathers lying about. I would probably be more diligent with clean up if that were the case.
    Quote:I guess it depends on the kind of bedding that you use too. I have been using pine shavings and found that it was easier to turn them under than it was to sift them out without wasting a lot of bedding. I just switched to flax bedding after doing the big fall cleanout this weekend, and so far am loving it – so much easier to sift out the poop without throwing out a lot of good bedding with it.
    Quote:Me too, for the big spring and fall cleanout. In between times I do daily/bi-daily under-the-roost poop removal and weekly I skim off the top layer of soiled bedding and replenish with fresh. If feathers come up with the skim, great, otherwise they stay.
  7. yellowchicks

    yellowchicks Chirping

    Jun 27, 2014
    My Coop
    Hmm....I just cleaned out the feathers from the run yesterday after 3 months. I was just being compulsive with cleaning and allergic to fine feathers. I used a piece of hardware cloth to cover a rake as a sieve, it was only good for removing some larger chunks. You can probably use a leaf blower set on the low setting and blow the feathers to one corner for removal. In the coop, the bedding is clean out every week anyway. There was really no concern with feather picking, just feather flying.
  8. aldarita

    aldarita Songster

    Aug 2, 2012
    Brenham TX
    X2 I clean my coops every day and now that they are molting, I clean the feathers too. I don't think it matters one way or another, it is just me that likes to keep the chicken yard as tidy as possible. I have 18 hens and pullets and 2 roosters, thank goodness not all are molting but they will next year when my pullets turn over a year old.
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I just toss in more straw, and clean out once a year in the spring.
    1 person likes this.
  10. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    I only have a small flock (5 hens, 1 roo, and 6 chicks) but I do a poop scoop every morning to remove the bulk of the poop, and if I come across any feathers during that process I pick them up too. Things are particularly feathery here at the moment since my Momma Hen is moulting after hatching her chicks, so I like to clean up her feathers every day just so that the chicks are in a clean environment. We have a dirt floor in our coop, with hay on top of it.


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