Monday, November 7, 2011

The Dirty Truth

Raising backyard chickens can be very rewarding, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you the dirty truth:  chickens are messy.  Chickens eat all day, so naturally, they poop a lot.  Chicken poop, while not exactly toxic waste, is pretty darn close.  
Cleaning the coop is a weekly job that should not be overlooked.  A dirty coop can be harmful to the health of your flock, and your neighbors probably won't be too happy about it either.

A well thought out coop design can simplify cleaning.  For example, a sand floor can help keep the ground dry and makes it easier to rake out the debris.  

Installing poop boards under the roosting area is another good idea. The boards collect the the nightly droppings and assist in keeping the coop floor clean.  Poop boards that are removable can be washed more easily and left in the sun to dry.  

A regular once a week cleaning has been working pretty well for my small flock.  My tools of the trade are a rake, putty knives, a kitty litter scoop, and a bucket.    

First, use the putty knife to scrape the poop boards.  A metal putty knife is essential for scraping.  Chicken poop seems to have the holding power of super glue.

Next, move on to cleaning the floor.  Skim the top surface of the sand with the back side of the rake and remove the debris pile.  Use the tines of the rake to turn up clean sand and rake the surface smooth.

A kitty litter scoop is a handy tool for sifting the debris out of the sand.

Don't forget, chicken poop makes a great addition to the compost bin.


  1. Beautiful chicken coop and a very pretty chicken helper you have there, but I think you just completly talked me out of getting chickens. That's a lot of work. Rarely are post about backyard chickens honest about the work involved. Thank you.
    Cindy S.

  2. What lucky chickens they are. Wish I could have some eggs and chicken poop!

  3. Good for you for talking about the uglier side of those wonderful eggs! Your blog looks great and you are well on your way to completing the 30 day challenge! Jeanne