How to Clean a Chicken Coop

My Favorite Tools for Cleaning Chicken Pens and Runs

When you have a small chicken coop, but especially a small coop in a SMALL backyard, you need to keep things clean. And it’s important to know how to clean a chicken coop right. I believe maintaining a clean chicken coop is one of the primary responsibilities of keeping an urban chicken coop but especially to preserve our rights to keep chickens in city backyards.

how-to-clean-a-chicken-coop

Let’s go over how to clean a chicken coop. It does not cost a lot to gather a few supplies to maintain chicken pens and runs. Some of my supplies are from the dollar stores.

Now onto my favorite supplies for cleaning my chicken coop.

how-to-clean-a-chicken-coop

Rakes and Shovels

I have a large, small and a hand-held rake for cleaning up the coop and run. I use them almost daily. I use the shovel to move dirt as needed and fill holes the chickens have created.

Greenfire

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Litter Scoop

I use a metal kitty litter scoop to clean the litter from the coop daily. It takes minutes but keeps the coop nice and clean. I scoop up droppings a couple times a day when I pop into the coop to collect eggs or bring treats. I prefer to toss right in my compost which sits right next to the coop. I do not use a deep litter method. Chicken owners with small yards, I believe, do not have the luxury of putting the coop way out back. Many have to keep it away from the property line and controlling the flies and odor is important.

A Small Plastic Bin

I use one to collect debris for the compost bin and when I rake out the straw from the hen house portion of the coop. I bought mine at the dollar store.

Cleaning Brush

I use this to clean webs and dirt off the coop.

Gloves and Mask

Of course my health is important too, so I use these when needed. Rubber gloves are used for scrubbing the coop and daily I use gardening gloves for cleaning up.

Long-Handled Scrub Brush

I use this when I do my twice yearly scrubbing of the coop. It reaches into the coop and is nice and sturdy.

Short Handled Scrub Brush

I use this to clean waterers and on occasion, I clean them with hot water and dish soap. I do not use bleach as the plastic tends to absorb the bleach odor.

Vinegar

Vinegar is great in hot water too with a bit of dish soap and I use this when I do my twice annual complete chicken coop scrubbing. In March and October, we literally move the coop and I clean every inch of it and lay new sand on just the coop floor. The sides are swept of webs and then scrubbed and I pick a sunny warm day so I can hose it down if needed and it dries quickly.

You can see how I use sand and straw in our own coop and hen house. There are benefits to both.

In the heat of summer when the flies are bothersome, a great diatomaceous earth use is to put it in the feed and sprinkle it on the freshly raked chicken run and coop.

When we looked at how to build a chicken coop, I knew keeping the space the chickens live extra clean would have to be a priority. So far my neighbors have never complained and some have said they didn’t even know we had chickens. Now that is the best compliment on a well-maintained chicken coop you can get. Visit us at the Sunny Simple Life.

What tools do you use to clean your chicken coop?

Originally published in 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy. 

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Comments
  • I use in on my coup floor wood chips, change it weekly to keep the smell down. Have not had to wash to coop yet but thanks for the tips will keep them in mind for this summer.

    Reply
  • I use a plastic snow shovel as a long-handled dust pan when sweeping up the dust, dirt and bedding that the pitch fork leaves behind.

    Reply
  • I believe that today’s fancy chicken coops have encouraged chicken owners to over sanitize their hen houses. My hen’s are spoiled when it comes to how they are loved and fed, but my hen house probably by most would be considered dirty. Chickens should be able to scratch through their own litter. This process,though unnatural to us, keeps their “intestinal floral ” balanced. I have extremely healthy hens. I even have a 15 year old australorpe from my original flock of eight. My roost area has a sand base. Only about once a year do I remove sand and droppings. The rest of the time I add more sand and DE. MY coop is well ventilated and dry; I have no problem with odor control.

    Reply
  • Are you using just the sand that is native to your area? We are in Ga. and we have thick red clay do you suggest buying sand and what kind??
    Love your articles!!

    Reply
  • I use a gardening hoe to help scrape up droppings and soiled wood shavings. A dust pan helps me to pick it all up. And I keep a large garbage can nearby during cleaning to throw everything away. Love diatomaceous earth. Oh, and I always end a cleaning with a generous sprinkling of nesting box herbs throught the coop and run.

    Reply
    • What are nesting box herbs and what quantity & imterval do you apply them at? I’m always willing to try something that works for others.

      Reply
  • I found it interesting that the author seemed to consider deep litter inappropriate for small backyard situations—ironic, even! It seems to me rather that deep litter can be advantageous. Far from encouraging smells and fly problems, Deep litter is, when properly planned and managed, One of the most useful ways to keep a coop sanitary and odor free – and usually the easiest in terms of work and time. (People who claim to have discovered otherwise, frankly, and without delving into the details, probably did not do it right).

    Personally, for my own health and enjoyment, and to save time, I prefer to never clean a coop at all —That’s why I use a movable orchard pasture system. I never really have to clean anything, simply to spend about two hours once a month on a flexible schedule moving things to a fresh spot, (and occasionally throwing down some wood chips on a high traffic area, but that’s rare). After the pasture is moved, the rains, sunshine, and earthworms take care of the cleaning for us.

    for those without the space to move runs or rotate pasture, I generally recommend deep litter (appropriately designed to fit into the system and properly managed of course) as the simplest, least labor intensive, and most chicken-appropriate way to keep a coop odor-free and hygienic.

    Reply

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