Our coop is the perfect size for 4-6 birds, complete with two small roosting bars and two nesting boxes (they only use one…). We have an attached run that they always have access to, and is secure from predators. When we are home, we let the ladies have free run of our backyard, since it is securely fenced.
Bedding and Cleaning the Run
In the run, I toss in lawn clippings, leaves, weeds, and other stuff from around the house. There’s no formal ‘bedding’ in their attached run (and I think they secretly love picking through all those goodies!), so I simply shovel it out maybe twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall, the attached run gets shoveled out and the awesomely fertilized goodness goes straight to my garden to be tilled into the beds.
Cleaning the Coop
In our coop, we use pine shavings as bedding and gets cleaned about 3 or 4 times a year. This means everything gets pulled out. The feeder and roosting bars included. I use a few 5-gallon buckets and use a shovel and hand broom to sweep all of the poo and bedding from the coop floor and nesting boxes.
That dirty bedding goes into the compost bin for further ‘fertilization’. After a few months, that bedding will be magic black compost and will be worked into my garden.
After the coop is totally empty, I grab my Young Living Thieves All-Purpose Cleaner. I know, I know. You don’t want to hear about a specific brand, but I need to tell you that sanitation is really important when cleaning your coop.
If you can get your hands on some Thieves All-Purpose Cleaner, awesome! A little bit goes a long way. If not, use a vinegar and water solution, or you might also try a little Dr. Bronners (scent of your choice) and water.
Please don’t use a harsh cleanser, like bleach or something funky and purple with a sprayer. You simply need a wet solution that will cut the poo and sanitize the surfaces of your coop. Remember, your ladies will be breathing the air in your small coop, so you don’t want any fumes or residual toxic odor.
While you’re at it, wipe down all of the items that you took out of the coop. This would include your feeder or waterer, the roosting bars, and all sides of the nesting boxes. You’re almost ready for some fresh bedding!
Put everything back in your coop, and layer down some new pine shavings.
Finally, let the ladies check out their fresh, new digs. You’ll likely hear some gentle clucking as they look around.
How do you clean out your chicken coop? Leave a comment!