Building a chicken coop is a major step that every new chicken owner will have to go through, but keeping the chickens safe and protected certainly doesn’t stop there.
To make sure that the coop continues to do its job of providing shelter and protecting the chickens, you have to periodically do a maintenance check and also clean the coop on a regular basis.
Fortunately, cleaning the coop thoroughly is a task that you would only need to do every four or five months at the very least.
However, there are some housekeeping chores that you would have to take care of more often, such as changing the bedding in the nests and on the floor of the coop, replacing the water, and checking for signs of predator entry.
Changing the Bedding
There are different kinds of chicken bedding that you can choose from but the most popular ones are made of wood chipping because they are highly absorbent, hygienic and very affordable.
All you have to do is remove all the bedding from the floor and the nests, replacing them with a new layer. This may be done once or twice a month.
You can recycle the old bedding by adding it to your compost pit, where it can make a wonderful fertilizer for your plants.
Another option is to pile on a thick layer of bedding right from the beginning – 4-6 inches would suffice.
Instead of removing all the bedding during your monthly cleaning, you can just rake the top layer off and bring it to the bottom, revealing a fresh layer that the chickens can use for the next month or so.
This method will not only give the chickens a fresh bedding to walk on but it will also practically eliminate the odor that comes from the chicken waste.
Refilling the Water
This should be done daily to ensure that the chickens always have fresh and clean water to drink.
Make sure that there are no blockages in the water containers and that the water flows out as it should.
While you’re at it, you should also remove any leftover foods, which can be very attractive to pests.
Sweeping Off Manure
Although you can wait for a couple of weeks before replacing the bedding, it would still be a good idea to sweep off whatever manure you can every morning.
If you use a manure tray, be sure to clean these daily as well.
Checking for Holes Made By Predators
Rodents are particularly known for attacking chicks and stealing eggs, so you should be very vigilant in checking for holes in the ground or along the fence that these predators can use to enter.
If you see any of these signs of entry, be sure to patch them up right away to protect your chickens.
Cleaning your chicken coop may not be a task to look forward to but it is absolutely necessary to keep your chickens happy and healthy.
Besides, if your chicken coop gets too dirty and odorous, it can become very attractive to pests and may even bring disease to your poultry.