How to Clean Your Chicken Coop & Run: 9 Tips to Do It Right (2023)

“A place for everything and everything in its place.”— Unknown

Does this sound familiar? It is a quote that says that everything should have a place to be stored and when not in use it should be returned to that place.

Are you a believer in this type of cleanliness? Well, if so, then this is going to be a good read for you. If you have chickens, then you’ll be curious to know how to clean their coop I’m sure.

Now, if this seems like common sense to you, great! However, keeping your birds’ coop clean is of great importance if you want a healthy flock and lots of eggs.

Here is how you clean your chickens’ coop:

1. A Clean Place to Roost

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop & Run: 9 Tips to Do It Right (1)

My chickens like to roost just like most chickens. However, the thing to remember is that a sleeping chicken is a pooping chicken.

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone that roosting bars get really nasty. And with that, I’d like to introduce you to my cleaning tool of a choice: a garden hoe.

Yes, a garden hoe. It works wonders. I’m able to scrape everything clean and not have to get nasty in the process. I do this by simply running the garden hoe over the roosting bars repeatedly until I get all of the poop knocked loose and off of the roosting bar.

If necessary, you can spray the roosting bars down with a water hose. Depending upon how nasty they are, I will often take a sponge soaked in white vinegar and run them over the bars as well. This does help to sanitize and deter bugs.

2. A Clean Place to Lay

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop & Run: 9 Tips to Do It Right (2)

Can you recall how great it feels to get into bed when you’ve put clean sheets on it? I love that feeling.

Well, so do your chickens. In fact, if their nesting boxes aren’t clean it can actually deter them from laying.

So if you want to up your egg production then be sure to clean your hens’ nesting boxes regularly. When doing this, again, I use my trusty garden hoe. I just pull out all of the bedding and scoop it onto the ground.

The great thing about this is it doesn’t take very long at all. Then, I place fresh material back inside their nesting boxes.

(Video) Stop Cleaning Your Chicken Coop and THIS Will Happen 🐔 👑

Now, you can use many different materials. I usually use shredded paper, hay, straw, or mulch. A lot of people use cedar pine shavings and that is fine. I don’t because I like to use what I have on hand.

After this, you’re ready to move on to the next area of the coop.

3. A Clean Place to Walk

How gross is it when the inside of your home has a dirty floor? Believe me, I sweep my floors every day (sometimes multiple times a day) but with 3 boys I always seem to have dirt in my house waiting to be swept again the next day.

It is kind of the same with your chicken coop. The difference is chickens poop everywhere.

How you clean their floor will depend upon your method. I use the deep litter method. This is to add more material to the coop floor so the waste can compost inside the coop.

Then I’ll come back a few times a year and scoop it all out as great compost for my garden. If you use this method, then you’ll need to let all of the waste you’ve scooped from the roosting bars and nesting boxes remain on the floor of the coop.

Next, you’ll go over the coop floor and level everything out. If there are bare spaces or particularly gross spaces, then add some more litter to the floor of the coop.

Again, I use wood chips for this. My chickens love it because they can scratch around, and I’m happy because it makes my coop look and also smell fresh.

However, if you have a concrete floor or any other type of floor in your coop then you’ll need to clean it.

Begin by gathering all old material or waste that is on the floor and scoop it out. You can still use the material in your compost bin so you don’t waste anything.

Then you’ll need to either add more material back to the coop floor or if you have a concrete (or other washable floors) then you’ll need to hose the floor down.

Once your floors are clean, you’re ready to move on to the final stages of coop maintenance.

4. Sprinkle Some Fairy Dust

I love diatomaceous earth. The stuff works wonders on a lot of different things. It can be used to keep fleas off of your dog. A lot of people in my area sprinkle it on their yard to kill ticks and other unwanted critters.

However, you can also use it to help keep mites out of your chicken coop and it is totally natural to boot. Which is why I sprinkle it in the nesting boxes and on the coop floor. This way when my chickens dust themselves, they are putting diatomaceous earth all over them and deterring pests from climbing on them.

Also, I worm my chickens with diatomaceous earth a few times a year. When you begin to see poop on your eggs a lot, then you know it is time to worm them.

(Video) Tips for a Clean(er) Chicken Coop

A lot of times when I am cleaning out their coop, I will sprinkle diatomaceous earth inside their food as well. Then they eat it and naturally worm themselves.

As you can tell, sprinkling diatomaceous earth is something that has a lot of benefits, is very natural, and should be included when cleaning out your coop because it helps keep everything and everyone maintained and healthy.

5. A Clean Buffet

Have I mentioned that chickens poop everywhere? I thought so.

Well, they do! That is why it’s important to keep their food and water away from nesting bars or nesting boxes because (you guessed it!) they’ll poop right in or on them.

So our feeder is hanging right in the middle of the coop for this reason so they can’t possibly poop anywhere close to or on it.

Plus, their water system is right next to it. I’m going to share a frugal tip about watering chickens. When we first got chickens we invested in this fancy watering system because we thought it would be the best for them.

Ummm…no. Chickens actually like to gulp water instead of having to peck to get it out.

After realizing this, we tossed the fancy watering system and put a bucket in its place. It is a smaller bucket so the chickens can drink from it, but they are so happy because they can easily stick their head in it and guzzle water.

Now, if you have a smaller number of chickens you can probably get away with one of the smaller poultry waterers. We have enough chickens that we’d have to have multiple of those and to be honest, I’m frugal and don’t really want to make that investment when a bucket works just as well.

Whatever you use to feed and water your chickens, you’ll need to clean them. Take them out of the coop and hose them down. That way any dirt can be hosed off and then allow them to air dry. This keeps everything clean and that way nothing gross can begin to grow inside of them.

And ultimately, it is just one more step to keep everyone healthy which is the ultimate goal.

Now, I will offer an added tip. When I put the food and water containers back inside the coop and refill them, I will sometimes add some ACV and garlic to their water. It supports their immune system, and I especially do this during the winter months.

6. A Clean Place to Run

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop & Run: 9 Tips to Do It Right (3)

If your chickens don’t free-range then they most likely have a run or a chicken yard of some sort. My chickens are allowed to free-range in our fenced backyard during the fall because they help clean up our garden beds.

However, the rest of the year they have to be put up because we grow a lot of items in garden beds inside our fenced backyard. This means that they have a fenced-off chicken yard so they can still get out and peck in their own area.

Well, you can’t forget about these areas when cleaning. So you’ll need to use a rake (or hoe) to level out the litter material that covers these spaces. Add some more material if needed as well.

(Video) Muddy Chicken Run QUICK FIX | Chicken Coop HACK!

Basically, you just want to clean up any mess that might be lying around. It isn’t a hard job. It just needs to be maintained so as not to become unsanitary.

Honestly, I don’t have to scoop this area out but a few times a year when I need compost. However, if you don’t practice the deep litter method, then you’ll need to empty it when cleaning for sanitation purposes.

7. Give Your Chickens a Mani/Pedi

When cleaning your chicken coop, it is also a good time to check on the health of your birds. Illnesses occur in chickens from time to time. Being proactive can be the difference between life and death for your flock.

When cleaning out the coop, try to remember to check their feet for bumblefoot and look at the overall health of each bird. This way if one of them is breathing funny or has any other abnormality, it shouldn’t go on for a very long time without you noticing it.

As you can tell, this step is pretty easy. It shouldn’t take you very long, but it could be the difference between having a healthy productive flock or a sickly flock.

8. Mend the Broken Places

Coops need repairs every now and then. It is important to keep them well maintained for the safety of your flock.

When you are cleaning, pay attention if there are any damaged areas. If so, then fix it. Most repairs to a chicken coop don’t take more than a few minutes (unless it is something major.)

One of the most common repairs I see in our coop is that the chicken wire is becoming loose and beginning to sag. A few whacks with a slap stapler and we are back in business.

Just keep an eye out for any repairs that need to be made and try to make them as you are cleaning the coop so you don’t forget about them.

9. How Often I Clean

How to Clean Your Chicken Coop & Run: 9 Tips to Do It Right (4)

Well, all of this advice is great and all but how often should you actually do these steps? For me, I clean my birds’ coop once a week and do it in between cleanings every other day.

The reason is that my birds are super picky. I guess I’ve spoiled them. We have plenty of roosting space but for whatever reason, certain birds want to sleep in nesting boxes.

And do you remember how I mentioned that a sleeping bird is a pooping bird? Well, you can imagine that my nesting boxes get pretty gross.

So I clean them out almost daily. Then I do my big overall cleaning every Monday morning. If I do it on a weekly basis (and move quickly) it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes or so from start to finish. Staying on top of things really saves you time in the long run.

Well, these are my 9 tips on keeping a clean chicken coop. I hope that you find them helpful and that it will help you to maintain a healthy flock.

(Video) EASY TRICK to FIX MUDDY CHICKEN RUNS | No More Stinky Chickens!

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How do you naturally clean a chicken coop? ›

The most basic option for cleaning your chook coop is a mixture of vinegar and water-either ACV or white vinegar will work. Simply mix about 15ml of vinegar with water in a spray bottle. Spray on and wipe off with a damp rag or sponge and voila… clean, fresh smelling coop!

How do you remove chicken poop from grass? ›

If conditions aren't too damp, pick up as much chicken poop as you can from the yard by raking it or picking it up with gloved hands. Large, well-formed manure is fresher, and it's easier to pick up than manure that was trapped under heavy snow. Old manure that has dried is easy to rake away from the grass.

Do you have to clean up chicken poop? ›

Follow your nose, but if the coop starts to smell of ammonia, a clean-out is well overdue! Ammonia is produced by stale droppings, and will affect your chickens' delicate respiratory systems. They do most of their droppings at night, so cleaning-out is a job that shouldn't be neglected.

What do you put on the floor of a chicken run? ›

In general, the best ground cover for a chicken run is anything that keeps the ground dry, safe, and comfortable for chickens while also being easy to clean as needed. Bedding material, sand, solid floors, and landscape mulches are popular options for running floors alone or used together.

How do you get chicken poop off wood? ›

Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water, then spray the mixture thoroughly over the area. Let it soak for a couple minutes, then scrub off the poop. Again, don't allow the wood to soak for long as moisture can cause it to warp or crack.

Can I sprinkle baking soda in my chicken coop? ›

White vinegar, baking soda, and sunlight can all do an amazing job of killing bacteria, mold, and pathogens. Ultraviolet rays are also a powerful disinfectant, and vinegar kills many types of mold, as does baking soda. Using all in combination will keep your chicken feeders and waterers clean and your chickens healthy.

How often should you change the bedding in a chicken coop? ›

We recommend changing your chicken's coop bedding every 2-3 weeks and nesting box as needed for all feathered friends. However, keep in mind that chicken blogs and friends will give their personal favorite changing times.

What is the best thing to put in the bottom of a chicken coop? ›

What Do You Use on the Floor of the Coop? For the deep litter method, use pine shavings or hemp bedding as your bottom layer since they are small pieces and compost fairly quickly. Pine shavings are inexpensive and available online or at your local feed store in bales.

What can I do with chicken poop? ›

The answer is to use it as a soil amendment or fertilizer. However, raw chicken manure can burn and damage plants. It should be composted or aged prior to use. In addition, raw manure can contain pathogens that can harm people and animals.

Does a chicken run need bedding? ›

While livestock need bedding for a layer of protection between them and the cold, damp floor while they sleep, chickens do not sleep on the ground, they sleep on roosts, therefore, they do not need bedding- chickens need litter on the floor of the coop to manage waste.

What bedding is best for chickens? ›

Medium- to coarse-grained sand is the best chicken coop bedding as it's non-toxic, dries quickly, stays clean, is low in pathogens, and has low levels of dust. Sand is a much safer choice than all other bedding materials.

Do chickens need light at night? ›

Chickens do not need light at night. They require at least 6 to 8 hours of darkness to get a good night's sleep. This downtime is imperative to the chicken's health and well-being, just as much as daylight or artificial light for 12 to 14 hours per day is critical for laying eggs.

Do chickens need grass in their run? ›

In short, no, you don't need grass in a chicken run area and if you do place a run onto grass it will quickly get destroyed through constant scratching, leaving behind bare soil or dirt.

What do you put on a dirt floor for a chicken coop? ›

Using the deep litter method on a dirt floor

However, wood shavings are very likely TOXIC to your chickens, and I don't recommend using them in any scenario. If you must use them, aspen is your safest choice. Straw is a much safer choice, although you do need to watch out for molds.

Do chickens prefer grass or dirt? ›

Chickens love scratching up dirt, dust bathing in it, and gobbling up grass, weed seeds, and insects, worms, and other invertebrates they find while scratching. When confined to a small outdoor run even a few chickens will soon devour every bit of grass and convert it to bare dirt.

How often should a chicken coop be cleaned? ›

How often you should be cleaning a chicken coop? You should provide fresh food and fresh water every day, and you should clean the bedding out once a week or once a month(the deeper the bedding layer the less often you have to clean it out). It's best practice to do a total clean-out at least twice a year.

How often should you change the bedding in a chicken coop? ›

We recommend changing your chicken's coop bedding every 2-3 weeks and nesting box as needed for all feathered friends. However, keep in mind that chicken blogs and friends will give their personal favorite changing times.

Do you put bedding in chicken Run? ›

Bedding in the chicken coop and run should be nontoxic, absorbent, quick-drying, compostable for future reuse and relatively inexpensive. Every backyard chicken setup differs depending on space, number of hens, regional weather conditions and other factors.

How do you get chicken poop off wood? ›

Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water, then spray the mixture thoroughly over the area. Let it soak for a couple minutes, then scrub off the poop. Again, don't allow the wood to soak for long as moisture can cause it to warp or crack.


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