Keeping chickens is something humans have done for hundreds of years. From producing fresh eggs to being considered a therapy animal, there are many benefits of keeping chickens. But what about keeping their chicken coops clean?
Chicken poop poses a risk. Many investigations have shown that chicken poop harbors some very dangerous bacteria, viruses, and fungi that could damage your health (1).
This may leave you with some questions if you want to raise chickens. Should you wear a mask when cleaning a chicken coop? How do you stop a chicken coop from smelling? And what are the best ways to clean up after your chickens?
Should I Wear A Mask When Cleaning A Chicken Coop?
There are many ways that harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi can enter your body. This includes contact with feces and airborne transmission. In areas where there is a high density of animals that harbor these dangerous pathogens, such as chicken coops, there is an increased chance of becoming ill (2).
Several investigations have shown that transmission of dangerous pathogens, such as Salmonella, Actinobacillus, and Escherichia coli, occurs when people contact chicken feces and through bioaerosols (airborne transmission) (3, 4, 5). Fungi tend to be the most dangerous, as the transmission into the lungs through spores in chicken coops are high. This can result in conditions such as “farmer’s lung” (6).
Because of the risks associated with chickens and nasty pathogens, it is incredibly crucial that the first step in cleaning your chicken coop is purchasing a high-quality respirator.
The more traditional masks, even the cloth ones you typically associate with the Covid-19 pandemic, are not good enough to avoid pathogens’ transmission (7, 8, 9). Purchasing a respirator is as easy as going to your local hardware store and is worth the trip to safeguard your health.
Why Is It Important To Clean Your Chicken Coop?
It is incredibly important to clean out your chicken coop regularly. Along with the accumulation of dangerous pathogens, cleaning out that smelly coop is essential for the chickens’ health.
There are several parasites and insects that live in the warm comfort of the chicken coop, including the bed bug. Up to 380 bed bugs can live in just a single nest box when bedding is not cleaned out regularly. Not only can this be disturbing for you, but it can have a significant impact on the chickens (10).
What Is The Best Way To Clean A Chicken Coop?
Now that you have a respirator, there are several steps for cleaning your chicken coop.1. Remove The Bedding
A good place to start is by removing all of the coop’s bedding material, including that in laying boxes. You can use a spade. However, it is crucial to wear gloves during this phase as pathogens can linger on your hands (11).
2. Clean Out The Coop
Once all of the bedding material is out, it is time to put in a bit of elbow grease and start cleaning the coop. At this point, it is wise to use an excellent detergent.
One detergent product that will work well is EcoClear's SteriCide™.
SteriCide™ can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi and be used throughout the home and farm.
3. Leave It And Wash It Off
Once the detergent is applied, leave it one for some time and then wash it off. It is best to use a high-powered hose for this to make sure you wash it off thoroughly.
4. Wait For The Coop To Dry
At this point, relax as you will have to wait for the coop to dry. Make sure you let it completely dry before moving to the next step. In some cases, it is best to leave it for 48 hours if you have many chickens in your coop (12).
5. Spray On Sanitizer
Once dried, you can spray on some sanitizer or reuse products such as EcoClear's SteriCide™, which also acts as a sanitizer. Again, leave it to dry.
6. Replace The Coop Bedding
Once the coop dries a second time, you can replace the bedding in the coop. It is best to use a material that can soak up moisture, such as wood shavings or straw. You can use hay, but it quickly grows mold when wet (13).
Now that you have a clean chicken coop, you may bring your chickens back.
How Do You Stop Your Chicken Coop From Smelling?
Now that you have a clean coop, you will likely want to keep the coop smelling fresh.
There are several options for this. The most popular is to use a deodorizer before you put in fresh bedding when you clean the coop.
EcoClear's ProBio Odor Out is an excellent choice for this.
Another option is to increase how often you clean the bedding and chicken coop. It is recommended that you replace the bedding weekly if not two to three times a week (14).
The Bottom Line
Chickens provide people with eggs and meat, but cleaning the coop can be a process.
It is incredibly important to use a respirator whenever you clean a coop, as a chicken’s coop can expose you to dangerous pathogens. It is also important to have a high-quality disinfectant, sterilizer, and odor remover to keep you and your chickens happy.