Once a week I rake the chicken’s run & stir up the shavings in the coop as quick “mini cleanings” (Click here to read about the Deep Litter Method of Coop Maintenance). But twice a year I like to do a deep cleaning. Let the girls out to free range, roll up your sleeves, and grab your scrub brush because it’s coop cleaning day!
First, assemble the tools you will need. It is a good idea that these tools are used exclusively for coop cleaning, you don’t want to transfer germs to other areas of your home. I use a soft bristle broom or a metal rake for removing the shavings and knocking down cobwebs, a long handled stiff bristle scrubbing brush for scrubbing the floors & walls, and a short handled stiff bristle brush for scrubbing down roosts and into crevices.
You will also need a cleaning solution. I make my own citrus vinegar disinfecting spray, but you could use simple diluted white vinegar as well. You should avoid heavy chemicals like bleach. Chicken’s respiratory systems are sensitive and you don’t want them inhaling the chemicals. They also tend to peck at all surfaces and you wouldn’t want them picking up any chemical residue.
This coop is set up so that you can pull a wheelbarrow right up under the door and sweep the soiled shavings out from either end. The used shavings are carted off to the compost pile.
Next, spray the walls and give them a good scrubbing, followed by the floors. The floor of this coop is covered with cheap vinyl tile squares. I like the squares because it is easy to swap them out if they become damaged. You can see there are a couple different patterns in there, just buy whatever ones are cheapest when they need replacing. I don’t think the girls mind! I highly recommend using vinyl floors because they are super easy to scrap off any dried on poop or mud.
While you have the coop empty, it is a perfect time to inspect for any signs of predator or rodent damage. While cleaning out recently, I discovered a little gnawed out hole! This coop is actually two coops that we joined together as the flock expanded. Where the coops are joined together some kind of rodent tried to make his way inside. They can be very resourceful and if there is a weakness those little buggers will find it. I repaired the hole by first covering it with hardcloth wire, and then screwed a 2×4 over it. Lastly, I followed the path out and made sure to shore up the outside where the rodent got into the run in the first place. Click here to read more about keeping rodents out of your coop
Next, take the short handled brush and give the roosts a really good scrubbing. This will probably be the nastiest part of the job. It’s surprising how fast the roosts can get crusted with gunk! If your roosts are removable, it makes this job infinitely easier.
Remove the wire screens from the windows, and clean the glass inside and out
Now that the inside is clean, use the spray to wipe down the outside walls of the coop.
Fill the coop back up with clean shavings and let the girls back in!