THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Chickens may seem sweet and soft, but they can also leave in their wake a messy coop!  

I know there’s a TV series out there about dirty jobs. I think the host ought to come out to the farm and clean a chicken coop with me.

It’s not like it was the worst cleaning of the season — that comes with the spring thaw, when the bedding pack is near three feet deep in places, wet and heavy, frozen in the corners, and matted down with straw and wood shavings. That would be a really messy job. Sometimes it takes days to work through the winter pack and haul it away.

So this cleanup after the ladies had moved out should be a breeze in comparison, right? Well,while moving that winter pack is wet and sticky, the spring coop cleaning to prepare for the baby chick arrival is dry and dusty. Very dusty.

Where to Start

First, like with any coop cleaning, we have to scoop out the soiled bedding. Mom backs up the tractor and the manure spreader as close to the door as possible, and we prop open all the doors and windows for ventilation. 

The hens have been out of the coop for a week, while I kept the fan running, so the messy muck from the ducks has dried to a firm, hard pack. Steve scoops while I chip away with the ice scraper, releasing the brown poultry concrete (we joked that it should be called “chickcreet”) from the actual cement floor. Chip, chip, chip — about half an inch at a stroke.

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