How Often Should You Clean Your Chicken Coop?

Alex Birch

You should clean out droppings and replace food and water in your chicken coop daily.

Refreshing the bedding should be done at least weekly, and whole-coop deep cleans twice a year. 

Maintaining a healthy flock involves several tasks, from feeding and watering to chicken coop cleaning – how often you perform these tasks can affect your birds’ health significantly. 

But don’t worry: we are here to help.

This post is the culmination of our in-depth research on how often to clean a chicken coop, along with some pro tips from expert chicken keepers on reducing henhouse maintenance. 

Clean Chicken Coop: How Often And Why It Matters

How often you clean your chicken coop depends on the cleaning task. Some things need to be done daily, while others only require attention every six months to a year. 

Daily Cleaning Tasks

If you keep chickens, you’ll need to perform some tasks daily. These include:-

  • Removing and replacing food and water. Chickens can make a mess of their environment, and their sustenance can spoil quickly. It doesn’t take long for bacteria, mold, and other issues to develop when left. 
  • Collecting eggs. The average hen can lay around one egg per day. Therefore, scoop these up regularly to prevent them from accumulating in your nesting boxes. 
  • Cleaning droppings. Finally, you may also need to scoop up droppings or heavily soiled bedding with a trowel daily. Removing it can help the coop last longer between full clean-outs and reduce bad smells and ammonia. 

Weekly Cleaning Tasks

Weekly cleaning tasks include:-

  • Refreshing bedding. Whether you use straw, wood shavings, or sand, you’ll need to refresh the bedding at least once a week. Chickens will release their droppings all over the place without any thought for the impact it might have on their living conditions. Failing to change the bedding often enough can lead to problems (which we discuss below). 
  • Clean the food and water dispensers. You’ll also want to clean your food and water dispensers regularly. Wash them up using something that kills germs, like soap or vinegar, if you prefer the natural approach. 
  • Remove debris from the coop walls and ceilings. Henhouses can get dusty and cobweb-ridden over time so use a duster or brush to remove any unwanted debris. 

Monthly Cleaning Tasks

You’ll also need to perform some monthly cleaning tasks. These aren’t urgent, but they can make your coop and flock more manageable. 

Scrape Your Rooting Bars

Roosting bars might be thin but often become engorged with poop. Because of this, it’s a good idea to remove them, scrape them down, and give them a proper clean to protect birds’ feed. 

Clean Your Floor Tray

If your coop is a floor tray, you should give that a thorough scrub down every month. Trays can become smelly over time, especially if made of wood. 

Less Frequent Cleaning Tasks

Finally, you’ll want to scrub your chicken coop from top to bottom every six months or so. It’s a big task, so don’t be afraid to dedicate a day to it.

Start by hosing down the coop and then scrub all the interior and exterior surfaces with a brush. Use soapy water and then rinse all the suds with the hose. 

Plastic and metal coops don’t require any drying time, but if the henhouse is wooden, leave it in the sun for several hours (preferably on a warm day) to dry. 

Make sure you scrub all the components of the coop (including nesting boxes) to remove all debris and droppings.

Finally, add fresh nesting materials and let your chickens move back in. 

Why Cleaning Your Chicken Coop Matters

Proper chicken coop cleaning – how often it is performed – directly impacts the health and happiness of your flock. Here are some of the reasons to do it regularly:

Prevents Disease

Chickens can develop all sorts of nasty conditions if kept in unhygienic conditions. Salmonella is a risk if birds live among their faces, contaminated water, or infected rodents.

The fungal condition, ringworm, can also develop, as can spotty liver disease from campylobacter when there is an abundance of leftover feed, droppings, or other organic material in the cook. 

Reduces The Risk Of Respiratory Illness

Cleaning your chicken coop regularly can also reduce the risk of damage to chickens’ lungs and breathing tubes.

A fresh henhouse may have higher air quality and lower ammonia levels, a compound from accumulated waste that irritates respiratory tissues. 

Enhances Egg Quality

A fresh coop also enhances egg quality. Chickens living in hygienic environments are more likely to produce eggs safe for human consumption and free from disease. 

Reduces Pest Infestation And Bad Odors

Finally, clean coops reduce pest infestation and unwanted odors. Rodents, insects, lice, and other creatures are less likely to feel attracted to a clean hen house. 

The Best Way To Clean A Wooden Chicken Coop

Aside from knowing how often to clean chicken coop bedding, it’s also a good idea to know how to do it in the best way for the specific material it is made of. 

For a wooden chicken coop (the most popular option), abide by the following process:-

  1. Scrape out any accumulated dirt or droppings and remove old bedding
  2. Combine a soap or detergent with water in a bucket and apply it to all interior and exterior surfaces, including roosting bars and nesting boxes
  3. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove stubborn debris and dried droppings
  4. Rinse all surfaces thoroughly to remove suds and soapy water
  5. Let the coop dry by opening the roof, door, and nesting box hatches, preferably on a warm, sunny day

Remember, wood needs time to dry out thoroughly. If it doesn’t, you could wind up with mold.

Keeping Your Chicken Coop Clean: Tips And Tricks

We’ve run through how often to clean chicken coop bedding but it’s also helpful to know how to do it well.

Therefore, this section introduces some tips and tricks used by experts you might want to try at home. 

Keep Them Outside During The Day

Our first tip for keeping your chicken coop clean is to keep your hens outside for most of the day.

Experienced chicken owners only let birds in the house for nesting and sleeping.

This policy increases the exposure time of bedding to potential droppings. Chickens poop more outdoors than inside, keeping straw, hay, wood shavings, or sand clean. 

Avoid Putting Food And Water Inside The Coop

Another pro tip is to avoid putting food and water inside the coop. Debris and dampness from these sources can attract pests and soil bedding more rapidly.

Like people, chickens can survive the night without a meal. Just make sure you let them out early in the morning to feed and water themselves. 

Use Sloping Roofs

You should also invest in sloping roofs for your henhouse and nesting boxes. Non-flat roofs discourage birds from standing on them and covering them with droppings. 

Install High-Quality Food And Watering Products

High-quality food and watering systems also reduce mess and reduce how often you need to perform chicken coop cleaning. 

For instance, Roosty’s supplies feeders and waterers with anti-tipping and anti-spillage designs.

Feeders remain upright, and food remains inside feeding areas, even when chickens knock into them or start feeding vigorously. 

Add More Ventilation

You can also add more ventilation to your chicken coop. Proper airflow helps to maintain a drier, healthier environment. 

Use A Droppings Board

Finally, use a droppings board under your roosting bars. These handy attachments let you capture droppings before they reach your bedding.

When they become soiled, you simply pull them out, rinse them down, and re-install them. 

So, How Often Should You Clean A Chicken Coop? 

You should do some chicken coop cleaning daily. However, some tasks, like deep-cleaning your henhouse only need to be done once or twice a year. 

Just remember, when you know the best way to clean chicken coop interiors and exteriors, you are more likely to keep your birds healthy.

A clean environment reduces the risk of disease and assists in egg production. 

FAQs

How often do you have to clean a chicken coop for 6 hens?

The cleaning routine for a coop of 6 hens depends considerably on the size of the henhouse. The smaller it is, the more often you’ll need to engage in the cleaning tasks set out in this article. 

How often do you clean a chicken coop floor? 

It’s a good idea to clean a chicken coop floor once a month or a couple of times a year. If you have a hen house with a removable tray, cleaning it is more convenient. 

What should you do with chicken poop after cleaning your coop? 

You can compost chicken poop and make high-quality soil. Chicken poop usually takes about six weeks to break down fully. 

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