Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Cleaning Chickens

Chicken keeping can be a very enjoyable occupation. There are all those lovely eggs to start with and the birds themselves can be an endless source of amusement, but there are some aspects which are not so enjoyable.

Chickens are messy.  They eat constantly and so they are constantly depositing their droppings on the ground, and their droppings are usually fairly soft and smelly.

We usually remove the droppings from the roosting area daily, but by the end of a week it can do with a more thorough clean.  We also like to put fresh wood shavings (these should be the dust-free variety sold in pet shops etc) in the nest box as even when no-one has spent the night in there little bits of mud and muck are brought in on the birds' feet when they lay their eggs.  If a bird does spend the night in the nest box we try to scoop their droppings out before anyone lays an egg, although sleeping and egg laying tend to take place in different parts of the nest box, thankfully.

Today I gave the chickens their weekly clean. Once I'd scraped all the muck I could from the floor of the roosting area I spread the sawdust from the nest box over it to make cleaning it a bit easier and once I'd removed as much of the old sawdust as I could from the nest box I replaced it with a generous amount of clean sawdust.

The nest box is the section on the right.

On your marks . . .
Then I had to start on the lower quarters. To do that I had to let the chickens out and they couldn't wait.

As the chickens are currently on the patio we have put straw down, which absorbs some of the muck,

Very mucky straw.

so that needed raking up

and putting on the compost heap.

A bucket like this comes in handy for that purpose.

Other useful equipment is a garden rake and a shovel

and for day to day maintenance, a churn brush, a small hand hoe (it makes a good scraper) and the pan from a dustpan and brush set..

Next weekend hubby will probably give them a more thorough clean if the weather permits.


  1. It's so satisfying once the cleaning is finished, then placing all the mucky straw on the compost heap, chicken poop really helps to speed up the rotting process.

  2. You have a point there, Karen. Cleaning out the chickens does have its plus points.


I look forward to reading your comments, it's always good to hear encouraging words or relevant hints and tips.