And just like your home, your chicken coop and roll away nest boxes will likely need a fair share of spring cleaning this coming season. For the welfare of your chickens, you should clean your coops regularly, but especially after long periods of absence.
Cleaning your chicken coops and nesting boxes requires very specific steps, though. You must be thorough and should only use natural cleaning supplies that won't irritate the chickens.
Once the snow and ice melt away and you're ready to move the chickens back to their springtime home, here are the things that you should do:
- Clear out all of the dirt, feathers, nesting materials, and bird droppings. Depending on the size of your coop, this could take some time. It's important to scrape out as much of the bird droppings as you can since they, unfortunately, will not soften with the help of water or a cleansing solution.
- Break out the hose and spray the enclosure down. You'll want to remove any and all dust and debris left over from scraping and shoveling. If there is a significant amount of debris left over, you may need to repeat step one.
- Use a natural cleaning agent like vinegar to disinfect the chicken nesting boxes and coop. Do not use bleach, as it is far too harsh for animals to bear and can be toxic to the chickens if it hasn't dried completely. Vinegar, however, has very similar cleaning properties without the harsh effects. Mix equal parts vinegar and water to create a cleaning solution and mop up the area for an all-natural cleaning. Take a hand brush or thick-bristled broom and scrub the floors and walls to free any remaining droppings, stains, dirt, or debris.
- Rinse once more.
- Sweep out any standing water, but let the coop and nest boxes air dry. The fresh air will help with the lingering vinegar smell, and sunlight will also help aid in the disinfection process.
After the coop has dried, lay down fresh nesting materials to keep the floors clean and the chickens warm. When it comes to choosing material for the nest boxes and floor, consider that chicken manure is made up of 85% water. You'll want the material to be absorbent to both matter and moisture, so plan accordingly.
Once the nesting materials are laid down, you'll be able to move your chickens back into their springtime homes.