Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

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poly
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Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

Post by poly »

Hi,

I've had chickens for a week now and wondered what peoples general cleaning regime is? I went to clean my coop (greenfrog medium coop) yesterday and to be honest the bedding (aubiose) seemed fine (as I poo pick each day) and the inside of the coop looked clean. I lifted the two trays and cleaned underneath anyway and used disinfectant around the coop. I also puffed a small amount of DE around (possibly not enough?). I didn't change the bedding - should I have? I also didn't remove the bedding from the nesting boxes and clean them at all, is this OK?

I think I would be less worried if it wasn't for red mites!! :-)11 I'd just like to make sure I do enough to keep them away but at the same time I don't want to end up over doing it.

Thanks :)
Icemaiden
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Re: Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

Post by Icemaiden »

Hi Poly.
It's easier to prevent red mite than to get rid of them. I'd aim to poo pick daily (as you're doing) & thoroughly clean the coop weekly, removing all bedding from the coop & nestboxes (add it to the poo on the compost heap, with your grass clippings etc & your compost will be the envy of your neighbours).

Do wear a dust mask when sweeping diatom out of the coop, as it's not good for your lungs.

From about April to October (basically if the weather will let the coop dry in an hour or so), I clean out the coop, nestboxes, trays & perches with Poultry Shield & a sponge. A bowl of warm water is needed for rinsing out the sponge. I then let it all dry while the girls enjoy a scratch around the garden. (In the winter, I sponge out the coop & use a powder disinfectant rather than leave the coop too wet by dousing it in Poultry Shield.)

Wearing my mask, I then sprinkle diatom under the droppings trays, puff it around the inside of the coop & put a little in the bottom of the droppings trays before adding fresh bedding.

Because red mite are a warm weather problem, I tend not to bother with diatom over the winter.

Other people will doubtless have other cleaning regimes; there's no single correct answer, but the above is what works for me.
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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Marigold
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Re: Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

Post by Marigold »

That sounds amazing, Icemaiden. As I said, I don’t feel the need to do very much coop cleaning with my present batch of hens as they roost on an open perch and never in the coop itself. They only go in to the coop briefly, once a day, to lay an egg and never seem to poo in there at all. Previous batches of ‘normal’ hens did use the coop, but I never went to greater lengths than cleaning out the poo daily and washing down any dirty surfaces now and then. I kept it reasonably clean and have never had any redmite or other parasites. I put this down to the coop being plastic, and thus easy to take to bits and inspect perch ends etc. Also, I think that having a roof on the run and thus excluding wild birds is good for biosecurity, it must be effective at reducing redmite infestation as well as the possibility of transmission of other diseases such as bird flu.

I think what you’re doing is admirable, Icemaiden - but I do feel that, unless you enjoy doing it, so long as the poo is picked up daily from both run and coop, the hens won’t come to any harm if it’s not possible to remove clean bedding and completely scrub everything every week. Also, I’ve never used diatom in the coop, and certainly wouldn’t advocate puffing it around in powder form, as it’s highly abrasive to lung tissue and carcinogenic if inhaled. If worried about redmite, you can make it into a paste with a little water and paint it on to perch ends etc, where the mite would actually gather. There is no point in adding it to bedding, where it will be inhaled when the bedding is disturbed or removed. It’s really dangerous stuff, both for humans and birds.
poly
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Re: Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

Post by poly »

Thanks to you both :) That's really good to know.

So do you think I should have changed the bedding in the nest boxes and droppings trays in the coop? I poo pick everything out of there each day so it looks clean but maybe I should just change it as good practice to help prevent mites? Would doing this make any difference?

I was going to look into making a DE spray so it drys on which would reduce the puffing it about.

Thanks again :D
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Marigold
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Re: Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

Post by Marigold »

Redmite live during the day in cracks between the joints where perches or other fixtures have tiny crevices they can creep into. They also live underneath layers of roofing felt and in the spaces between overlapping boards on wooden coops, though with a plastic coop this won’t be a problem. They don’t live in bedding, and chickens normally sleep up on perches, not down in the bedding, so there is no point in treating it with diatom, it just increases the danger to no purpose. Redmite are only active at night, when if present they creep out on to the perches and draw blood from the sleeping hens. Then, when fed, they crawl back again to hide inside their chosen cranny.
More details here, on the Poultrykeeper.com website; https://poultrykeeper.com/external-problems/red-mite/

It’s up to you, and if frequent changing of all the bedding makes you feel reassured, that’s a fine thing to do. If you want the inside of the coop to be as clean as your kitchen worktops, you could always move the used but clean-looking bedding out on to the run floor, rather than wasting it. Or you can just use your nose and your eyes to tell you how much cleaning is essential. If the floor and the nest boxes are clean of poop and the sides and back door are also clean-looking, and it doesn’t smell nasty, the chickens are probably going to be OK. Pull out the perches regularly and check the ends where they rest in the supporting slots for what looks like grey dust (see pics in the link above) and if you don’t find any, you most probably have no redmite.
poly
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Re: Cleaning the coop - (Green Frog Medium coop)

Post by poly »

Thank you Marigold and thank you for the link. I'll focus on the little hiding places then and not worry too much about bedding! Good point about the perches too..I'll make sure to do that each week!

They're experiencing rain for the first time today and they're not impressed! :? :lol:
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