What You Need to Know About Chicken Coop Maintenance
No matter what size your chicken coop or flock is, you need to get on a regular schedule for chicken coop maintenance. This schedule not only helps take care of your flock each day but prepares you for long-term chicken coop maintenance. Taking care of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks will make your overall chicken coop care easier to accomplish.
Regularly maintaining your flock and their home will help ensure healthy backyard chickens and increase the longevity of your chicken coop.
What Your Chickens Need Every Day
Your backyard chickens need you every day—not only to ensure egg production—but also to make sure your flock has everything it needs to flourish. Just like your other pets or animals, your chicken flock relies on you daily for clean water, food, and protection. These daily chicken coop maintenance efforts will keep your chicken flock healthy.
Chickens require clean water daily—even several times a day if the water gets dirty, too hot, or freezes. Water is not only important in keeping a backyard chicken hydrated and healthy, but it is essential for egg production.
Keep the water supply fresh to avoid your chickens getting sick from bacteria or contagious illnesses. Chickens cannot control where they go to the bathroom, so keep their water supply away from roosting bars.
Proper Food Supply
Your chickens need daily food checks to make sure that they have enough clean food. Just like with your backyard chicken’s water supply, keep their food away from where they roost each night to prevent contamination.
A Clean Place for Egg Production
Chickens are fussy about where they lay their eggs and need a comfortable and clean place to do so. Check the nesting boxes daily for any significant signs of uncleanliness, and remove any eggs your chickens have laid. Collecting the eggs each day will keep your nesting boxes clean and prevent your eggs from getting too dirty or cracking.
Weekly and Monthly Chicken Coop Maintenance
Your chicken coop maintenance routine should also include weekly and monthly chores that take chicken coop cleaning a step further. Chickens are fussy about many things—like where they lay their eggs—and a dirty chicken coop can cause your chickens to stop laying eggs or even get sick.
Pro tip: Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural deterrent to lice and mites that affect the wellbeing of your backyard chickens. Even if you routinely clean your chicken coop, you may encounter these pests. You may want to use DE in their bedding and nesting boxes for better pest control. Make sure you use non-toxic, food-grade DE in your chicken coops.
Change the bedding and nesting box material weekly or monthly, depending on what bedding method you use.
You have several options when deciding on how you want to set up the bedding for your chicken coop. Your approach depends on how often you want to be responsible for changing the bedding, the construction of your chicken coop, and if you live in an urban or rural area.
You will want to frequently change or add new bedding to your coop if you live in an urban area. Chicken coops can create quite a smell that you—and your neighbors—do not want drifting inside.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Water Suppliers
For the same reasons why you change chickens’ water frequently, you also need to thoroughly clean and sanitize the way you deliver water to your chickens. You may use a waterer, bucket, or another method of getting water to your backyard chickens. Whatever watering process you use, make sure you sanitize it monthly—or weekly if you feel you frequently see algae, dirt buildup, or slimy residues.
Long-Term Flock Care
Even with daily, weekly, and monthly chicken coop maintenance, your chicken coop needs a deep coop cleaning every 6 months. This helps keep your chicken coop clean and creates a healthier living environment for your chicken flock.
Deep Clean Your Chicken Coop
A deep coop cleaning involves removing everything from the coop and starting fresh. You should remove the bedding, nesting box bedding, feeders, and waterers. Once you’ve removed everything, it’s time to clean the chicken coop with a disinfectant.
Use a bleach solution—one part bleach, ten parts water—to disinfect and clean your chicken coop. With bleach solutions, you must be careful to thoroughly rinse everything and let it air dry before putting anything back in the chicken coop.
There are non-chemical cleaning solutions (vinegar and water) that work well, but may not be an effective disinfectant.
There is additional chicken coop maintenance that needs to happen if you live in an area, like here in Des Moines, IA, where you experience freezing temperatures, snow, or ice during the winter months.
Start by checking your chicken coop each year before winter for any damage, holes, or areas where a draft will reach inside your chicken coop. You will want to take care of any structural damage or drafty areas right away before cold or snowy weather arrives. If you are looking to purchase a new chicken coop because of damage to your current coop, reach out to us at Sun Rise Sheds and let us help build you the perfect chicken coop!
Sunlight or Artificial Light
Chickens require sunlight to continue egg production throughout the winter and will slow down egg production or stop laying altogether without it. If you want your chickens to continue producing eggs throughout the winter, make sure there is an area of sunlight in the chicken coop, or install artificial lighting to simulate sunlight.
Keep Water From Freezing
Chickens adapt to the cold, but they will need your help to make sure they have fresh, unfrozen water every day. Change out the water frequently, or use a waterer that has heating capabilities.
Need A New Chicken Coop?
Now that you have some tips on regular chicken coop maintenance, are you ready to add a new quality-built chicken coop to your property? If you are looking to add a new chicken coop, reach out to us at Sun Rise Sheds in Des Moines, IA, to discuss our customizable chicken coops. Let us work to create the perfect chicken coop for your backyard!
You can also visit our outdoor showroom to see your options in person and speak directly with an experienced member of our team.