Cleaning Chicken Coop is EASY! Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide on How To Clean a Chicken Coop

We know you’re scared to open your Pandora’s box of a chicken coop. But it has to be done. Don’t worry. You won’t miss a single spot or inhale any of that toxic chicken dust.

And those crusty and stubborn chicken poop that won’t budge? We have a safe and highly effective trick that will make you say, “why haven’t I thought of that!”

So, grab your gloves, face mask, and cleaning supplies. Spring cleaning is here, and our detailed guide with 15 steps will teach you how to clean a chicken coop like a pro. Plus, get hacks to keep it smelling fruity-fresh. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Metal scraper and cat litter scooper
  • Cleaning brushes (different sizes)
  • Plastic barn shovel and light rake
  • Broom and dustpan 
  • Large tarp 
  • 2 buckets 
  • Spray bottle
  • Hose 
  • Cleaning rag and protective gear
  • Extra coop materials (wood, nails, wire mesh)
  • Fresh bedding
  • Distilled or Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic juice
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Essential oils (optional)

How To Clean A Chicken Coop In 15 Detailed Steps

A foolproof battle plan is all it takes to defeat that smelly and dirty coop. Here’s how to clean your chicken coop. You can thank us for your disease-free, citrus-smelling coop later. 

1. Move The Chickens

Whenever it’s time for some chicken deep-cleaning, do it when Mr. Sun is out. And, don’t forget to let your hens out of the coop. Free-range them for a day! They’ll be just a nuisance when cleaning – they’ll peck at your broom or topple the bucket. 

No extra space for your flock to roam around? That’s an easy fix. Move them into a different enclosure so you can clean in peace.

Getting them out of the way also saves them from inhaling all the bad stuff you’re about to unearth. Keep in mind that chickens have very sensitive respiratory systems (1). You don’t want to deal with sneezing chickens right after the tiresome task of cleaning chicken coops.

2. Get Battle Ready

Now that the flock is out of the way, you’ll have a clearer picture of how MESSY and DIRTY your coop is. 

Before you do anything else, suit up. You don’t need a hazmat suit or anything that crazy. But change into working clothes and grab a pair of rubber gloves. Put on a filtered mask and goggles. 

One of the biggest cleaning chicken coop dangers is poultry dust. It poses a significant health risk for chicken keepers (2).

“Studies have shown that poultry workers’ exposure to poultry dust can be substantial. Workers with occupational respiratory disease may develop permanent breathing problems, becoming disabled, and unable to work.”

So yes, suiting up from head to toe for this chore is not going overboard. You don’t want any of the chicken nasties on your bare hands or in your lungs. 

3. Look For Signs Of Mites

Always check for mites before picking up your cleaning tools or moving anything. They usually hide at the nesting boxes and roosting areas. If there are a few mites, treat the area! Or else the mites will hop onto your clothes or get mixed in with the debris. 

You don’t need a pesticide for this job. You can whip up simple sprays to get rid of these pesky bloodsuckers. A mixture of oil, water, and dishwashing soap does the job. But garlic juice works well, too (3).

Spray the infected area and let them die! 

4. Open Up The Coop

After you’ve eradicated those nasty parasites, open up the hen house and take out removable roosts or nesting box dividers. Some easy-to-clean chicken coops even have detachable nesting boxes. Be sure you collect the eggs too!

Don’t forget to take out the feed and water containers too. Set them all aside outside your coop, on standby for washing.

Clearing the coop will make it easier to clean the coop later. If the hen house has windows, make sure to open it! Because there’s nothing worse (and frustrating) than deep cleaning the coop all day and missing a spot! 

And oh, if you love fresh air and not the smell of chicken feces, crack that window open. 

Lay a big tarp on the floor near your main coop door. If your coop has removable floor/dropping boards, put this directly under your coop. Then take out the floor/board. The tarp catches any falling debris. 

5. Scrape From Top To Bottom

Just like cleaning your house, you want to start from the top down. 

If there is a dried and stubborn poop, spray it with some water and let it soak for a few minutes. Then, grab a metal scraper and get to work! 

Make sure you don’t wet it too much, or else you’ll have dripping poop all over the walls and floor. Then, move down the walls to the normal roosting area. Don’t forget to scrape out the nesting boxes, too. 

Do a final check before proceeding to the next step. 

6. Rake That Gunk Out

When all the yucky stuff is on the floor of the coop, grab the shovel and scoop it out into your big bucket or onto the tarp you laid out earlier. 

Make sure your mask is secure because this step rustles up all the dust. Do another sweep to make sure all the debris is out of the coop.

Gather everything in the bucket or wrap up the giant tarp. Set it aside somewhere near your compost pit and out of your way. Don’t leave it exposed, where the wind can blow it all away and spread all the dirt, bacteria, and poop.

7. Hose It Down

Things should already look pretty good at this point—time to hose and scrub everything down. 

Pro Tip: Grab a bunch of different-sized cleaning brushes for a deeper clean. An old toothbrush works great for little nooks and crannies.

Use a bucket filled with water and dishwashing liquid mix. Again, start from top to bottom – unless you want to clean the floor again. 

Hose it all down to get the grime off all the surfaces.

8. Sanitize The Space

Yay! The coop is clean! But soap and water only do so much. It probably smells like soap mixed with poop, eew!

Take cleaning to the next level by disinfecting and deodorizing the coop. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a natural disinfectant. All you need is a bottle of white vinegar and sliced oranges with their rind. Let it steep for a while, so its scent infuses into the vinegar. 

Flies, mites, and other pests don’t like the acid and oils, so they stay away (4). 

Spray the walls and floor with this solution. It will disinfect and keep your birds’ house smelling fruity-fresh.

9. Wash And Disinfect All The Add-ons

While you’re waiting for the coop to dry, clean all the things you took out earlier. 

Wash the coop add-ons with soapy water. Don’t use bleach and other harmful cleaning agents to disinfect the roosts, feeders, and waterers. You can use an all-natural, food-safe disinfectant like the orange vinegar solution we’ve mentioned. 

For stubborn stains on roosting bars or the floor of the coop, use hydrogen peroxide. Just make sure you follow the directions on the label to be extra safe (5).

10. Let It All Dry

If you have a wooden chicken coop, this step is extra important. Otherwise, you’re exposing your coop to wood rot and mold. You just cleaned; you don’t want to mess it up again!

Patience goes a long way here. Plus, you can take a break while waiting for things to dry under the sun.

11. Inspect Damages And Repair

The hen house is nice, clean, and dry. But don’t put your chickens back in! Use this opportunity for a thorough coop inspection and maintenance. 

Check the chicken coop flooring, windows, ceiling, and walls for holes and cracks, and cover them up. And examine if the wooden materials need a fresh coat of water-proofing, pain, or other treatment.

If the feed storage has any damages, be ready to make some repairs. You don’t want rodents contaminating the feed with parasites and disease (6). Or, you can move and keep the feed in a cool, dry, and secure area.

12. Furnish The Coop

Okay, your coop is ready to refurnish. Put back the roosts, nesting box dividers, and other little knick-knacks you use to decorate.

Add fresh chicken coop bedding to the bottom of the coop. You can put back some of the old bedding and start a deep litter method. But only do this if you didn’t have a mite problem.

Lastly, fill up the feed and water containers.

13. Don’t Forget The Run

A clean coop won’t stay clean for long if the chicken run is still messy. Unless you’re using a chicken tractor type of coop, you have to clean out the run too.

Make sure that your run area dries first before letting the birds back in. Otherwise, there goes your spotless coop.

If your coop gets muddy often, you might want to consider relocating your chicken coop. Choose an area that drains well. Or you can add a layer of pea gravel or sand (7). 

Planting grass or other plants like white clover also helps absorb the moisture. Plus, it gives your flock good foraging ground (8).

14. Compost: Don’t Waste the Waste

What do you do with all the icky aftermath? Soiled bedding makes a great addition to your compost pile. 

Chicken poop is crazy smelly. But the good side of it is that it makes excellent fertilizer. All the ammonia and nitrates from the poop help plants grow fast (9). Pine shavings also help keep bugs at bay.

15. Bring The Chickens Home

Your coop is clean, the run is dry, and the poop is fertilizing the plants. What else is missing? The chickens! It’s time to welcome back your backyard flock. Imagine coming home to something like this!

Your chickens will definitely be happy and relieved to come home to a clean and fresh place. 

The Verdict

Cleaning a chicken coop is no joke. You need careful planning to make sure you don’t miss anything. We highly recommend spot cleaning because, well, it’s better to clean little by little than to let the poop take over. 

Plus, a clean chicken enclosure also keeps your girls and boys happy and healthy! Do you have any chicken coop cleaning hacks? Let us know in the comments! 

FAQs

You need to do chicken coop cleaning at least every two weeks, especially if you’re using regular bedding. Spot cleaning the chicken coop is recommended every other day. You can scrape off poop from the roosting area or clean out the nesting box to keep the eggs and your hens clean.

You can stop your chicken coop from smelling by cleaning it frequently. Scraping it out regularly and spraying a natural deodorizer helps in reducing a foul coop smell.

Choosing the right bedding is also essential. Good bedding should absorb moisture to lessen the smell. Find the balance of cleanliness and bedding choice to keep your chicken house smelling tolerable (at least).

Bleach can kill chickens if they are exposed to it daily. It’s a very toxic and corrosive chemical that’s great for cleaning. But if you don’t rinse it out well, the vapors and residues will make your chickens sick. It’s better to use vinegar instead of bleach when cleaning out your chicken coop and accessories.

  1. Respiratory Diseases in Chickens. Retrieved from: https://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au/blogs/learning-centre/respiratory-diseases-in-chickens
  2. Quick Guide to Poultry Dust. Retrieved from: https://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/poultry/guide.htm
  3. How to Get Rid of Chicken Mites and Lice Naturally. Retrieved from: https://www.freedomrangerhatchery.com/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-chicken-mites-and-lice-naturally/
  4. Natural Coop Disinfectant. Retrieved from: https://hencam.com/henblog/2014/04/natural-coop-disinfectant/
  5. Natural Alternatives to Bleach for Disinfecting. Retrieved from: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/natural-alternatives-bleach-disinfecting-79312.html
  6. How to Avoid Chicken Feed Storage Mistakes. Retrieved from: https://backyardpoultry.iamcountryside.com/feed-health/how-to-avoid-chicken-feed-storage-mistakes/
  7. How to Prevent a Muddy Chicken Run. Retrieved from: https://www.dineachook.com.au/blog/how-to-prevent-a-muddy-chicken-run/
  8. The Best Plants for the Chicken Run. Retrieved from: https://stockslagers.com/index.php/2019/06/27/best-plants-for-chicken-run/
  9. The Many Levels of Cleaning Chicken Coops. Retrieved from: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/cleaning-chicken-coops-coop/
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