Now that all of the chicken housing essentials have been identified and thoroughly researched I can begin to look at how to maintain a good healthy environment for my chickens. This leads me to the chicken coop housekeeping; when considering this, the behaviour of the chickens needs to be taken in to account. Chickens can be considered as the typical teenager, by this I don’t mean the typical stereotype of a moody teenager, but the teenager that is content to leave empty food containers around the house and scatter clothing from the basement to the attic.
While chickens and teenagers can be content within this environment, these conditions can begin to attract pests and can present health hazards for both myself and the chickens. For chickens to remain healthy, they need clean and dry bedding, clean nesting material, clean and hygienic feeders and drinkers, along with fresh air to breath. Unfortunately I cannot throw the chicken bedding and nesting material into the washing machine (I think the wife might be having words with me) and reused, these need to be replaced as part of a regular routine. This routine requires some tools, and luckily for me these tools are already available around the house (I just need to find them first). These include:
• A brush
• A shovel
• A rake
• A pair of gardening or work gloves
• A bucket or wheelbarrow (this is to carry away the chicken manure and other waste)
There are a few additional items that may assist with improving the speed and reducing the health hazards of the chicken coop housekeeping. These include:
• A housekeeper
• A dust mask
• A hose (where the coop has a solid surface floor – i.e. cement)
• A vacuum cleaner (in dry areas only)
We have an old vacuum cleaner that we previously used cleaning up following various DIY projects that could be used for getting into the corners in the coop much easier. This is perfect for the big spring clean days. I would not recommend using the same vacuum cleaner as you use for your daily chores around the house, as moisture from the coop cleaning can spoil the vacuum filters which then require regular replacement.