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It’s that time of year, when we completely and thoroughly clean our chicken coops from the winter. This isn’t a job for the weak of heart, and you will definitely need a shower when you’re finished! So let’s get down to business and check out “The Easy Way to Clean a Chicken Coop Using the Deep Litter Method”!
You’re going to need a few items:
- A good pitchfork
- A scraping tool
- Front loader or wheel barrow
- Hose with jet nozzle setting or a power washer
- Mild environmentally friendly dish soap
- Diatomaceous earth
How to Clean a Chicken Coop
Here’s the ugly part of this job. I’ve already started to scrape the shavings out from the winter time. Also, you see a straw bale to the left, I stack 4 – 6 straw bales inside the coops for insulation against the wall where the wind blows. The straw will go along with the composted shavings.
Be sure to step out of the coop every few minutes so that you can inhale fresh air! (Histoplasmosis)
Here’s the “gold” we’re after, the wonderful compost from the winter time. This stuff is incredible for the garden. Mine has been sitting without chickens (I boot them out of the coop so the compost can finish) now for a couple of months, continuous being turned, so it’s quite ready for direct application. Chicken manure is “hot” so make sure you give it several months to decompose so that it doesn’t burn your plants.
That’s why I love the “Deep Litter Method“! Essentially, you spread wood shavings or straw in your coop to begin this process. But instead of cleaning it all out each time it’s dirty, you sprinkle more litter on the top. Turning the soiled litter before you add another fresh layer of shavings will help it to break down faster.
Doing this over the winter time is a really great idea. Who wants to clean the coop out in the dead of winter? This keeps the coop clean but also allows the hens to scratch around (which they need to do!) and do the composting for you!!
So by now, in the Spring, you’ve got this gorgeous compost to use on your garden!
Once you shovel all of the compost out of your hen house and scrape off any stuck on “poo”, we are ready to blast it with water! Use the most jet like setting on your hose nozzle, or even better to use a power washer, if you have one or can borrow one. Don’t forget to look up and get all those cobwebs as well!
After a really good spraying out using some environmentally safe dish soap (I only use when things are super dirty!), I like to pour a good bit of vinegar over all the clean wood and let it dry in the sun, with the doors all open. Please NEVER USE BLEACH! It’s wrong on so many levels…..
Once it’s dry, (this can take several hours), then it’s time to bring in fresh shavings! I just LOVE the smell of wood shavings! Spread them everywhere generously, including your nesting boxes.
I like to sprinkle some dried herbs in my nesting boxes, like lavender or lemon balm. The girls really like it and feel special! They relax and lay more eggs!
You could sprinkle some diatomaceous earth over your shavings, if flies and mites are a problem for you. Totally optional. Don’t breath it!!!
By now, hopefully you’ve cleaned up all of your waterers and feeders! I have a little rack that I use to keep the water off the floor.
Enjoy and share!