Spring Cleaning!

21 May

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It’s been a muddy, wet and cold spring here in Boulder, and while our girls love scratching around in the mud for bugs, it makes for quite the mess.  Now that the weather seems to have calmed down and dried out (for now at least), it’s time for a good old spring coop cleaning.  Particularly given the close proximity of coop-to-house, it’s important for urban farmers to keep a clean coop.  It cuts down on flies and other unwanted critters, keeps things smelling nice, and most importantly keeps the girls healthy.  So here’s a quick rundown of a solid cleaning for our henhouse.

Step One: Get it all out! Chickens, bedding, roosting bars, nest box material, and any coop accessories you might have (we have baby chick pictures from when the girls were little as well as mirrors, curtains, and a pink chandelier).

Step Two:  Choose your cleaner! We choose not to use heavy chemicals like bleach, but still want a super clean and disinfected end product.  Instead we mix up a bucket of diluted WHITE vinegar (not apple cider vinegar, as this attracts fruit flies)  with warm water at about a 1:1 ratio. Vinegar is a great cleaning agent that can be used for all kinds of things, and if the smell isn’t your favorite, you can add a few things to help – tea tree oil (also a natural disinfectant), or let citrus peels and cinnamon sticks sit in the vinegar/water solution for 30 days or so and then clean (congrats, you just made your own cleaning solution).

Step 3:  Start scrubbing, making sure to get in all the hard to reach spots – up high, in the corners, everywhere.  Also be sure to scrub your nest boxes, and roosting bar, and any other items that live in the coop.  Don’t forget windows and ramps to the coop, and now’s a great time to do a good scrub on feeders and founts.

Step 4:  Rinse and let dry! We have to help hard-to-drain spaces dry by using old rags or paper towels.  Once dry, put some nice new fluffy bedding in the coop and nest boxes (we use hay in the nest boxes, as it’s thinner and less hollow than straw, and therefore harder for mites to inhabit).  You can take it to a whole new level of luxury for your hens if you want to herbs to their nesting boxes, but this is a topic for another post!

Step 5:  Rake and sweep chicken run area.  Make sure feeders and founts are sitting in secure and clean locations, and rebuild or secure any roosts, stumps or fixtures you may have in your run.

Step 6: Return chickens to their beautiful, clean coop, and feel good knowing that they feel good!  Best to do this kind of clean at least twice a year, and always keep up on the quick cleans throughout the year.

Happy Chicken keeping!

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4 Responses to “Spring Cleaning!”

  1. Zev Paiss June 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    What a snazzy and beautiful chicken house. And they even pick up after themselves! Where can I get chickens like this?

    • The Savvy Hen June 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Wouldn’t it be great if they did clean up after themselves?!? Glad you like the coop, and hope to see you at the store!

      • Zev Paiss June 9, 2013 at 2:39 am #

        Our family has has chicken twice in the past. The first batch has to be moved because our immediate neighbor (we live in a multi-family building said the oder was too much for them.

        The second batch was in a more open and less protected location and after about 6 months the Foxes had Chicken for dinner. We are seriously considering trying for a third time and are excited to know your store will be opening next month!

      • The Savvy Hen June 10, 2013 at 4:01 am #

        Well if you do decide to try again, we would love to help, but at the very least, we look forward to meeting you… please be sure to introduce yourself when you stop by!

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