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Sprucing Up The Coop a.k.a. Fall Cleaning

September 19, 2015

natural cleaning of the chicken coop

It's hard to remember what our lives were like before chickens.  I can't imagine stepping out the back door and not being greeted by the cheerful chattering or even on an odd day here or there, the heckling.  And when they run toward you out of sheer excitement to see you {or, being honest, to see what you have to give them}, it makes you smile.  Regardless of how the day has gone.

Although our daytime temps have been in the 80's we are told Fall is here.  With the arrival of Fall means the next series of chores need to be completed before Winter.  Things like putting the summer garden to bed, doing a window/deck/porch cleaning on the house, putting the window A/C units away, spending the next month raking leaves to take to the town compost pile {in addition to those we add to our own compost pile and outdoor coop}, and cleaning the chicken coop.

backyard chickens of Cobble Hill Farm

backyard chickens of Cobble Hill Farm

The Coop Girls supervise cleaning day, but usually from afar.  They get the opportunity to spend the entire day cleaning up the garden so they are busy girls.

Here's what we do to thoroughly clean out our coop:

  • take out all feeders and waterer's and wash them thoroughly {this is done 2-3 times per week as well all year}
  • scoop out all of the existing litter {add to compost} and, using a flat-edge shovel, we scrape the floors of any manure that may be stuck to them
  • remove nesting box straw {add to compost}
  • once litter and straw is removed, we use an old broom to sweep the walls and windows
  • wash all the windows and the flat-panel heaters with a vinegar-based window cleaner
  • using a shop-vac, we vacuum out the now completely cleaned out coop.  Walls, nesting boxes, floor, screens - the entire coop.
  • wearing a dust mask, we sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth on the walls, floor and in the nesting boxes {do not breathe this in or allow chickens in the coop when this is being spread - more about diatomaceous earth here}
  • we fill the boxes with new straw and lay new wood chips/litter on the floor
  • we take out the water heater and set that up, then add back in the refilled and cleaned waterer's and feeders
When the girls rush back in they run around chattering about their newly cleaned digs.

How about you - what do you do for Fall cleaning in your chicken coop?

Additional Chicken resources:
Preparing Chickens for Winter
Using Diatomaceous Earth For Chicken Health
Supplementing A Chicken's Diet
The Fall Molt
Chicken Coop 101:  13 Lessons Learned
The Coop at Cobble Hill Farm

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