Coop upkeep

It’s spring cleaning time! Pick a nice sunny day and thoroughly clean your coop. Scrub the roosts, remove all bedding, sweep the floor, and disinfect the hen house. Scrub and disinfect all feeders and waterers. Cleaning your coop on a regular basis is key to the health of your flock. It is also important for you and your family’s health. Dirty, uncared for coops can lead to disease and death of your birds, possible rodent infestation - not to mention flies! Providing them good food and fresh water is another key component of their well-being. Below is what we do to keep our small flock of 7 hens happy and healthy. How often you will do each of the tasks depends on the number of chickens you have and the size of your coop (the more chickens and the smaller the coop, the more frequent). Daily

  • Make sure the feeders and waterers aren’t empty.

  • The water should be fresh and clean at all times (don’t let slimy greenish stuff grow in it).

  • Remove the big poops under the roosts and any broken eggs.

  • Have a look at your chickens, they must be active and healthy. If not, separate the sick one and see your veterinarian.

  • Collect and refrigerate the eggs (don’t wash them!).

  • If you let the chickens out during the day, make sure they are all back in their coop at dusk and close the door.

Weekly

  • Refill the feeders.

  • Empty, rinse, and refill the waterers.

  • Refill the bowls of calcium and grit.

  • Clean the hen house: remove dirty bedding (put into the compost pile) and add fresh one.

  • Rake the run: remove poop, leftover vegetables...

Twice a year

  • Deep cleaning of the hen house:

  • Remove all bedding, scrub and disinfect roosts, disinfect floor.

  • Add new fresh bedding.

  • Scrub and disinfect all feeders and waterers.

Disinfecting means using a disinfectant to kill all bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Some examples of chemical disinfectants are: ordinary household bleach, professional grade Lysol, and Virkon S (always follow the instructions on the label).

Use common sense when interacting with your chickens who naturally carry all sorts of bacteria:

  • Always wash your hands after handling chickens, eggs, and bedding.

  • Have a dedicated pair of shoes to visit your chickens. Use shoes covers for your guests.

  • Keep other animals out of the coop. Make sure your cats and dogs don’t go in the chicken area so they don’t track chicken poop all around the house.

  • Also dogs shouldn’t eat chicken poop – although most find it to be a delicacy!

Happy spring cleaning!

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