Chicken-Keeping: Cleaning The Coop

We typically give our coop a full cleaning twice a year - Spring and Fall.  Although feeders and waterers should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, cleaning the coop from top to bottom at least once a year will help eliminate disease-causing organisms that flourish in the warm summer months as well as those pesky external parasites.

What does a full clean-up involve?

Remove all moveable feeders, waterers, perches, etc.  Take them out, clean and disinfect and set aside to dry.

Next, wearing a dust mask to prevent inhalation of the fine dust particles, remove all the litter from the coop.  If you live in an area where you have reason to own a snow shovel {or 4 such as we do - just in case....}, these will come in very handy when removing the litter.  You can get big scoops of it.  If you don't have a snow shovel, a regular shovel will do.  Using a gardening hoe or some other sharp and flat-edged tool, scrape any caked manure from perches, walls, and the floor.

Remove all straw or whatever filler you're using in the nesting boxes.

Use an old shop vac, or an old broom if you don't have one, and remove dust and cobwebs from the walls and windows, paying close attention to corners and cracks {where the parasites live}.

Next, disinfect the coop using either a vinegar/water blend or, if you prefer, 1 Tablespoon bleach per 1 gallon of water.  Scrub everything down - perches, nesting boxes, walls, etc.  Leave the doors and windows open so everything dries up before laying down new litter and nesting box material.

We take this opportunity to spread diatamaceous earth {food grade only} in the nesting boxes, on the floor with the litter, on the perches and in the cracks and corners {keep your mask on for this task}.

Return the newly cleaned and filled waterers and feeders and let the chickens back in.  They will all insist on checking out the clean digs and discuss whether or not they approve.

Happy cleaning!

Additional Chicken-Keeping Posts:So You Want To Raise Chickens:  Part 2
When Will My Chickens Start Laying?
Using Diatomaceous Earth For Chicken Health
Supplementing A Chicken's Diet
Chicken Water
Chicken Coop 101:  13 Lessons We Learned Building Our Coop
The Chicken Coop at Cobble Hill Farm
All You Need To Know About Chicken Roosts
All You Need To Know About Nesting Boxes


  1. Your coop is like the one I want my hubstead to build.I would rather have a walk-in coop than a small one.We'll see come next year.he has been looking at coops today.You got a really nice set-up there!

  2. Thanks so much Amanda! Yes, I much prefer the walk-in coop. The coop that came with the property was small and just too hard to get in and clean. I hope you get the coop you dream of!! :)

  3. I'll be pinning this one for sure on my "Dream Life" board.
    Great, concise information.

  4. We upgraded our coop to walk in size after fighting with it :) We use the deep litter method with pine shavings and clean it about 4 times a year. Then we put the shavings in the veggie garden, works great! We use DE as well for bugs...


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