Raising chickens in your backyard is not only a good way to enjoy naturally-raised eggs every day, but it's also good fun. Many people are surprised by how therapeutic watching a small flock of hens after a busy day at work can be. Author Clea Danaan wrote a book called, Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens: The Way of the Hen, that describes how watching and tending to chickens triggers the release of oxytocin, which helps lower stress hormones.
The only real downside to raising backyard chickens is keeping the chicken coop clean. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to make this dreaded job easy. And these steps to ensure a clean environment for your flock will become increasingly more important as the weather cools and the birds spend more time in the coop.
Why Cleaning Your Chicken Coop is Important
Even though chickens don't mind messy quarters as much as humans do, they do much better when they're kept in a clean environment. Cleaning the coop every single day decreases the odds of the chickens developing poultry mites, respiratory infections, and skin problems. Your hens will reward your efforts to keep the coop clean by producing high quality eggs. The clean coop smells better, making it less attractive to predators like weasels and foxes.
Tips on How to Easily Keep Your Chicken Coop Clean
If you haven't already done so, you should consider painting both the interior and exterior of your chicken coop. Not only does this make the coop more attractive, but it also decreases the amount of dust that sticks to the boards, which decreases the amount of time you spend cleaning the chicken coop each day.
It's in your best interest to clean the chicken coop at least once a day. When you stay on top of the cleaning process, manure, straw, wet sawdust, and bits of dropped food won't build up. Spending five minutes a day cleaning means you won't have to dedicate an entire Saturday afternoon to mucking out the chicken coop.
Each time you clean the coop, take a minute to examine it and make sure there aren't any sharp edges or broken bits that could injure your hens.
What to do with Waste Collected from the Chicken Coop
Dealing with the waste collected from the chicken coop is another unpleasant chore. The best thing to do with this is to build a compost bin, and fill it with the chicken waste (manure, sawdust, straw, etc.). Once it breaks down, it will be a wonderful source of fertilizer for your lawn, trees, flower bed, and garden. Once you get into a chicken coop cleaning routine, you'll find that it's not nearly as bad a chore as you thought it would be, plus it gives you an excuse to hang out with your hens.