Raising chickens can be profitable, yet tedious. To be sure you go on the right path, lots of aspects should be checked, including cleanliness.
Whether you like it or not, keeping chicken coop cleanliness is something that you cannot avoid as a dedicated poultry raiser. This is extremely vital to prevent health issues that may result in a decreased production. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to clean enclosures, regardless of the type and the location. Below are some effective and proven methods you can try.
Make It a Habit to Rake the Ground to Get Rid of the Old Hay
Normally, poultry raisers who live in places have chicken coops with dirt floors. In order to cover the dirt, to dry the floor, and to eliminate the bacteria, they use barn lime. And then, they add a layer of hay on top to reduce potential health issues.
Compared to straw and pine shavings, hay is very much preferred by many. This is because it is clean and is free of dust. Aside from that, it is also accessible and economical. But then again, you will have to change it from time to time. After which, you can throw it right away in the compost pit.
Cleaning chicken coops with dirt floors may look easy. First, you just need to rake the ground to transfer the old hay to the compost pit. And finally, put in barn lime and some fresh hay. If you think it’s as simple as that, then you are wrong. It actually takes patience and determination to get things done. Why?
During the hot summer season, you need to clean the enclosures at least every two weeks. On the other hand, during the wet season, it should be done once a week. Also, for a chicken coop that can hold up to 100 chickens, you will have to spend about an hour to replace all the hay.
Consider the Installation of Dropping Boards
As part of the nature of chickens, they head to their coops at night to lay eggs, find warmth, and be protected against predators. With that said, expect tons of chicken droppings waiting for you in the morning.
If you wish to avoid this type of scenario, it is a great idea to install some dropping boards. These are just wooden boards or plastic trays that are installed into a coop by screwing or nailing.
Since it is removable, you can just take it off and clean it when chickens are still roaming in the morning. You can purchase manure scrapers on the supermarket aisle or just find an unused spatula to avoid spending a lot.
Opt for Coops with Removable Roosts
These days, most of the chicken coops are constructed with built-in roosts. But this does not mean you should get these types, too. You can always opt for those that have removable roosts because they are easier to clean and disinfect.
To clean, grab an undiluted distilled vinegar and pour an ample amount of it into the dirty area. And then scrub. This product is known to effectively kill fungi, viruses, and bacteria.
Try the Deep Litter Method or the Tarp Method
If you live in an area with a colder climate, the deep litter method is highly recommended to maintain warmth in your coop. As the name suggests, this method allows you to leave the litter as is over a period of time. As the droppings build up and become compost, they will be enough to provide warmth to your flock.
The deep litter method is started by sprinkling or scattering barn lime all over the coop to somehow control flies and odor. Next, put 4 to 6 inches of hay or pine shavings. Week after week, mix the litter. Also, do not forget to add hay or fresh shavings to the mix. If you want to keep away mites and lice, you can add ash once a month.
Another effective method you can try is called the tarp method. This is commonly used in farms because it cleans 15 coops in less than 2 hours.
To start this method, place a tarp on the floor of the coop and top it with straw. If there is a need to change the straw, just fold the tarp and throw in the manure and straw into the compost mass. Finally, wash the tarp and sterilize it with Oxine or vinegar before changing the bedding of the coop.
Chickens are not only a source of food; they are also our family pets. So it is just right to exert extra efforts to help them stay healthy and happy living their daily lives. While cleaning their coops is not an easy task, hopefully, with the tips we have above, you can make the process simpler and effective.