A Strategy For Easy Chicken Coop Cleaning and Odor Control

There are several ways to handle the drudgery of cleaning the Chicken coop and controlling odor. Some coops are built with a floor of chicken wire or metal screen that allows the waste to fall through and collected below. I am not an advocate of this design as it is a poor surface for the chickens to walk around on and it can make drafts within the coop difficult to control. Another option is to place straw over the floor of the coop, and simply remove and replace as necessary. This method is fine but as the straw becomes wet, it will produce odor and add humidity within the coop. Depending on the size of your flock, this could require daily replacement of the straw to maintain a clean and odor free environment.

My preferred method is sometimes called the deep litter method. With this method, the coop is filled with 4-6 inches of pine shavings. By raking the top spoiled material into the bottom of the pile and allowing fresh shavings to the top a virtual odor-free environment can be maintained. Over time the level of the mixture will compress and new shavings can be added to bring the level back up. To hasten the absorption of the wetness, some will mix in a small amount food grade DE (diatomceous earth) to the surface. Once or twice a year the mixture may be removed and added to the garden or compost pile. Aside from raking the poo into the mix every day or so, there is very little effort involved with this method. And I have found that there is virtually no odor; Visitors are always amazed when I show them the coop and there is no detectable odor.

Another strategy to some implement to the make the cleaning process more efficient is to provide a removable drip pan directly below the perch within the coop. Since the chickens will prefer to spend a great deal of time on the perch when they are inside the coop, a majority of the waste can be intercepted before it falls on the floor. By making this tray easily accessible, it can be removed every day or so and the contents dumped into the compost pile. This strategy is by no means required as some just prefer to keep it simple and use only the deep litter method with great success.

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