It’s Spring! Time to get your coop freshened up!!!

Now is the time to get your coop freshened up.  I always have tons of energy in the spring.  I’ve been cooped up (no pun intended) all winter and as soon as there is a break in the weather, I’m so excited to get out and do something.  While cleaning coops is not my favorite thing to do, I find that spring is the perfect time to clean things up.

Hen house cleaning tools coop

Use a variety of tools to clean your hen house

Get it all out of there…

First thing I do is get everything out of the coop.  I remove all the stray from the nest boxes, nest inserts and rake everything out.  I have one coop with a wooden floor and I try to scrape it clean.  I use a sturdy putty knife to scrape out my girl’s nesting boxes and everything off the roosts. On my deep litter coops with dirt floors I asses if the litter is decomposed enough for removal.  Usually I wait until it is a little dryer to remove the litter.  I find that right about now my litter is really just starting to really brew with micro life.  I break up any caking under the roosts before I move on to disinfecting.

Disinfect everything…

Yes, everything!  I begin by soaking  all my nest inserts in totes of bleach water and then scrubbing them clean.  If you are using plastic waterers or feeders you will want to bleach water clean these as well. I will even spray my greenhouse walls with some bleach water in spring to help kill bacteria.Next I spray everything wood down with my back pack sprayer filled with a combination of Spinosad and Neem oil.  These are organically approved pesticides and will not harm your chickens, but will kill and repel all nasties like lice and mites. At this point I dust everything with lime.

Check hen house ventilation

Check that your vents are clear in the hen house.

Check your hen house ventilation…

I make sure to check out my hen house ventilation regularly.  I can’t stress enough how important air flow is to the health and safety of chickens!  Sometimes the upper areas of the house get filled with bug nests or even hay.  I check that all these air ways are cleaned out.  In my greenhouses I have 3′ sides at the bottom open to the air, so I never have to worry about my hens getting adequate air exchange in their coops.

Fluff your clean coop for happy hens…

Finally I add fresh hay to the floors of my wood hen houses.  I take special care to refill nesting boxes with clean hay (use hay not straw to avoid molds that can harm your flock), forming a little nest so they don’t just throw it out. I dust the freshly filled nest boxes with a little DE (diotonaceous Earth) to repel mites. You may wish to add some herbs to the bedding.  This can keep other bugs away, but will not detour mites or lice.  I like to add some lavender to leave a clean smell.

Fresh hay for clean nest boxes

Put fresh hay in your nesting boxes and coop floors.

Don’t forget to treat your yard to a sprucing up…

I live here in Oregon.  Blackberries, while super yummy are not great in the chicken yard.  If a berry cane has gotten large, chances are my hens have no intention of eating it.  I remove these canes at this point.  I look for any trash that may have blown in.  There seems to be some trash demon that visits our farm here, or maybe it’s just that we can grow anything…  Picking up the trash makes the yard lovely, but also keeps hens from munching on it.  My final touch is to dust the whole yard with lime.  This helps bring the Ph in the soil down so that all that poop can break down and ammonia is not a problem.

Happy hen

Hens are happy and healthy in a clean house!

Why clean up in spring?

I try to clean my big coops quarterly to avoid any disease.  In smaller pens and coops I recommend you clean every month.  Spring is a great time to clean because the air is cool, but not chilly.  In summer the temperature is so hot and built up roasting chicken poop is horrid!  Mold and mildew can get into your coop in the winter and cleaning up chicken coops in spring can really keep my hens from getting any respiratory issues or bugs. Most of all I think my special ladies really appreciate a clean place to live!