Cleaning coops is an important job that must be done on a consistent basis. A clean coop keeps your silkies happy and their feathers cleaner looking. The eggs stay cleaner as well. Your neighbors are pleased and are more tolerant of your backyard flock. Its a win/win situation for everyone.
I have eight different breeding pens to clean. I try to do one pen a day depending on the weather. It is best to do it on a dry day. Rainy days and very cold days make it hard for the walls to dry off. It takes me about an hour to clean one pen. I let the birds out in their run or let them free-range so that they stay out of the way while I am cleaning.
The first thing I tackle is to clean and scrub their feeding dish. I use black rubber bowls and I scrub them out and then spray a sanitizing cleaner on them. I then do the same thing with their water container. We use 2 gallon galvanized metal vacuum sealed waterers. I scrub and then sanitize.
For a sanitizer , I use Oxiver . Its active agent is Hydrogen Peroxide. The label says it is a Virucide, Bactericide, Tuberculocide, Fungicide and a Sanitizer. I use it for all my chicken cleaning needs. Another good sanitizer is Oxine for the coop.
The next thing I do is remove the old bedding. I shovel and use a broom to sweep it all up. I then place it in a container and save it for compost for my gardens. My plants love it. I don’t put it on the plants, but use it as a dressing around the sides of the plants.
I use a paint scraper to scrap any dried poo from the walls, floor boards and ramp. All of that goes in to the compost as well.
After the bedding is removed from the pen, I spray the walls with the Oxine. I leave it on the walls for about 10 minutes to loosen up the dirt. I also will do spots on the floor as well. Using a scrub brush, I will brush clean both the walls and floor, wiping with a towel to dry it. I then do a final spray and let it dry.
After it has air dried, you can put down fresh bedding. I use pine shavings. Then just return the food bowls and the waterer and you are done.
If it seems dusty, I will use an air hose to blow out the dust especially in the ceiling area and the electrical outlets.
The pea rock in their runs are raked and the feathers and poo are removed. I also try to keep things clean in the coops by daily removing the big chunks of chicken waste and throwing fresh bedding down, especially where I know that they sleep and where they lay eggs.
If you are noticing an ammonia smell to your bedding it is time to clean the coop. The ammonia smell can be hard on the chicken’s lungs and it is a signal for you that it is time to switch out the bedding.
Some people use a deep litter method of bedding management that involves adding more bedding instead of changing it out.
I kind of enjoy my time cleaning in the coop. It lets me spend quality time with the birds and the end result is pleasing to look at. The silkies seem happier too – which is always important. Good luck – it is time to clean the coops!
For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com . VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.
Victoria J. Peterson