I posted this in Poultry and Livestock, but wondered if anyone here might know of a safe way to clean the daylights out of my chicken coop. I don't have the chickens yet -- won't get the actual henhouse until this weekend. But it's made of wood and will need to be cleaned regularly. I clean my house with vinegar, Dr. Bronner's, etc. I suppose spraying straight vinegar in the coop will do the cleaning, but will it ruin the wood? Anybody? Anything? Thanks!
Bridgid I have gotten rid of my flock and started with a fresh hatch several times with no problems. If your chicks are healthy, the odds are they'll stay healthy unless they're overcrowded and/or stressed from poor nutrition.
If the former flock had some disease issues I wouldn't worry about it if the house has been vacant for at least a year. For sure, chickens don't lose any sleep over sanitary issues.
That's the best way to look at it, twiggy. Thanks. I've also been reading about using the chickens to start the compost -- there are articles in Backyard Poultry and Hobby Farms this month. From what they say, if you put in the right bedding, build-up should not be a problem.
When we raised chickens, we would shovel out the manure, and hose the area down with vinegar. The coop was also wood, but didn't seem to have any damage from it.
We would also lay down alternate layers of sawdust and straw about every other week. We also would clean it out twice per year, once in Spring (into the compost area) and once in fall (which went straight all over the gardens). The alternate layers of sawdust and straw made it a LOT easier to shovel, and the birds seemed to love pecking in the new bedding every time we would put it in.
I think the large amount of hay and sawdust helped to keep the coop cleaner, and protected the wood, too, by absorbing most of the ammonia that the droppings would contain, so that it had a chance to evaporate more naturally. Of course, we also had some pretty good ventilation on the coop, so that helped, not to mention that our birds ate a fairly natural diet (they ran around and ate bugs, and we would feed them any vegetation that we felt they would eat - bad vegetables, apples in season, even lettuce from a couple of restaurants where they were going to throw it out anyway). I know that with a minimum amount of grain in the diet that they had a more natural manure than otherwise (we only gave them a little grain in the evenings, mixed with more vegetation, to get them to go inside at night so the foxes would not get them).
Probably more than you ever wanted to know about our way of raising chickens, but I hope it helps.
Ya know, I never realized how much stuff I learned on the farm. I was a city kid gone country kid, who is now a city chick using country stuff to change my own back yard. It's amazing how much stuff we learned up in Maine.
*makes a mental note to call her dad tonight, to talk garden stuff*
Perhaps a 1% solution spray of Effective Microbes. The microbes in EM will keep the rancid and smelly microbes to a minimum and will keep the fly population down to near zero. There is more info on Youtube (I think) with turkey farmers using this with great success. They spray the entire operation with this stuff, put it in their water and get bigger and healthier birds, etc. Also, see http://www.scdworld.com and check out their videos.
I do appreciate the input, Hastur! I've read articles in Backyard Poultry and Mother Earth News about deep-litter coops for composting, and you've put it down in a nutshell! I plan on doing it just that way.
Okay -- y'all need to go to TSC and pick up the Tshirt I bought this weekend -- white, with a big red barn, and says "Born to Farm." I love it! (I was raised in Beaumont, spent summers on Uncle Fred's farm. I'm looking for one of my own now.) This can be our uniform -- except the overalls cover the picture!
We used to have 300 chickens. (Now we have 5) Anyway, we used to use Stall Dry. It is made for horse stalls. It has a lot of diatamacious earth in it so it really kept the bugs down. No problems with mites etc.
Comes in 40lb bags and worked out really well.
Oxine...it kills a gazillion viruses and bacteria,
much better than bleach.
You can even put in in the water your chickens drink.
It can be used in coop foggers for respiratory disorders.
You might want to read about Oxine on this website: http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/contents.htm