How to clean a chicken coop

Today I had to clean out one of the chicken coops and it took me a little longer than I expected. I probably only do a deep cleaning about once a year, though I will dust down the spider webs and scoop up under the roosts more often. This was a serious cleaning today!

a freshly cleaned chicken coop

I use the deep litter method in my chicken coops, so it's really only a once a year clean out. Today was that day starting with the bedding and ending with a Shop-Vac. Here's the entire process.

How to clean a chicken coop

First you'll need a good mask for yourself! When cleaning a chicken coop you will stir up a lot of dust which is really bits of feather dander, dried poop particles, bedding and possibly histoplasmosis spores. 

Unfortunately you can catch histoplasmosis from cleaning the coop so the first thing you'll want to do is don a well fitting mask that covers your mouth and nose!

Start in the coop by removing anything that is removable like feeders and waterers. If the nest boxes come out, you have a broody cage or maybe a chick brooder those all need to come out.

If your nest boxes are not removable, you'll want to scoop all the bedding out of them onto the floor. If they are removable shake them out to empty them before you take them out of the coop.

Next, shovel out all the bedding. I put mine in the compost pile. I wrote an article about the 6 different ways to get rid of all that coop bedding if you need ideas. 

Using a broom, sweep the floor making sure to get in all the corners and edges. This is where mites and lice like to hide, so you want to sweep out anything that might be lurking in there.

Using a shop vac to clean the chicken coop

Grab a shop vac and vacuum the ceiling and walls to remove the feather dander, dust and cobwebs. Cobwebs and spiders don't pose a threat in the chicken coop, but you might as well remove them because they will continue to build up and can get quite messy!

Spider webs in chicken coop need cleaned

If you've had a recent problems with lice and mites they like to hide during the day, so it's important to clean in between seams on a plastic coop or boards on a wooden coop. Get your shop vac in there and go over every single place they could hide, especially near the roosts.

You could power wash if you feel it's necessary, but I don't do that very often unless there's seriously a mess to clean up! It takes a really long time for a wooden coop to dry out, so you don't want to do that unless you have to.

Scraping the coop clean

Grab a wide plastic putty knife/scraper and scrape out any residue inside the nest boxes or off the coop walls. How chickens manage to spray poop onto the walls I don't know, but it happens and now is the time to scrape it off.

Use some non-toxic cleaner and wipe up anything gross inside the nest boxes or anywhere else in the coop.

While you've got the feeders and the waters out it's time to give them a good scrub with some Dawn dish soap and a big scrub brush. Rinse really well and allow two dry in the sunshine. If you have plastic next boxes, give them a quick scrub too!

I talk about some of the bacteria that can live in the water containers in the article Chicken waterers, How often should you clean them? Because of the pink slime and bacteria that can live in them, I clean mine about once a week, but also clean them every time I clean out the chicken coop.

If you have a lice or mite problem now is the time to get a duster bulb and whatever product you are using and dust it into the corners or cracks of the coop and in between boards and around roosts.

Now we get to put it all back and refill with whichever clean bedding you like to use, food and water. Now you're done and you're chickens can head back into the clean coop and start making a mess again! 


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