Easy Green Tips for Refreshing and Cleaning a Chicken Coop

Refreshing and cleaning a chicken coop are safe with these easy green tips.
By Lisa Steele
December 2013
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"Fresh Eggs Daily" is author Lisa Steele's guide to raising healthy chickens naturally, which includes feeding them a diet of herbs, flowers, and greens.
Cover Courtesy St. Lynn's Press
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Learn to treat your flock to a diet rich in a variety of herbs, greens, and flowers with Fresh Eggs Daily (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013). Lisa Steele offers dozens of simple, intelligent, and easy green tips for “going natural” that help you avoid common ailments that plague many backyard flocks. This excerpt from “In the Winter” features two recipes for refreshing and cleaning a chicken coop.

You can purchase this book from the Capper’s Farmer store: Fresh Eggs Daily.

More Fresh Eggs Daily:

Properly Caring for Chickens in Winter
What to Feed Chickens in Winter, and Freezing Chicken Eggs       
DIY Chicken Scratch Wreath
Homemade Suet Block Recipe
Things to Know Before Building a Backyard Chicken Coop
Green Choices for Chicken Coop Bedding

Refresh a Dirty Chicken Coop with these Easy Green Tips

I have developed an all-natural refreshing spray for chicken coops that combines the rodent-repelling and insecticide properties of mint with soothing lavender in a white vinegar base (for both disinfecting and antibacterial qualities). Easy and inexpensive to make, a bottle stored in your coop and used any time your coop needs a bit of a refresh will help keep your coop sanitized and rodent free.

You can also substitute vodka for the white vinegar in the following recipes. Why use vodka for cleaning? Vodka is another fine natural cleanser. It not only repels insects, it actually kills them. It is antibacterial and kills mold and mildew. As an added benefit, vodka is odorless, unlike white vinegar, which has a distinctive smell.

Lavender Mint Coop Refresh Spray

Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh lavender leaves and/or bud
Bottle of white vinegar (or inexpensive vodka)
2 one-pint canning jars
Spray bottle

Divide the herbs between two canning jars, crushing them a bit with your fingers as you add each sprig to release the essential oils. Add white vinegar or vodka to each jar to completely cover, leaving at least 1/4 inch headroom in each jar. Screw on the lids and then set the jars in your pantry or on the kitchen counter to age. Shake the jars every few days to mix the contents.

The mixture will start to turn a greenish-brown color and smell fragrant in a week or two, indicating that the spray is ready to use. Strain the contents into a spray bottle. Spray in your coop as needed to keep it smelling fresh.

For Cleaning a Chicken Coop, Follow These Easy Green Tips

While a quick refresh results in a fragrant coop, take care that you are not merely masking any true odors that should be attended to. Any whiff of ammonia should be cause for a thorough cleaning. Chicken droppings emit ammonia and the fumes can irritate your hens’ eyes and mucous membranes. Many chicken keepers will tend to reach for the bleach as a coop cleaner, but mixing ammonia and bleach, as you may know, can result in toxic fumes. A far better alternative is this natural orange peel and white vinegar coop cleaner.

White vinegar, as mentioned above, is a natural disinfectant with antibacterial properties. It kills mold and is an ant repellent. Caution: Although apple cider vinegar has wonderful health benefits, which will be discussed later in the book, it should never be used for cleaning, because it will attract fruit flies. My coop cleaner includes orange peels. Citrus oil is a natural insect repellent and proven solvent, making it perfect for scrubbing your roosting bars. I add cinnamon sticks to the cleaner because cinnamon oil kills mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes can spread fowl pox, a disease that causes black spots on hens’ combs. I also add vanilla beans to repel flies, mosquitoes and other insects. As in the preceding recipe, vodka can be substituted for the vinegar in this recipe if you wish.

Orange Peel White Vinegar Coop Cleaner

4 oranges (or 6 limes, 5 lemons, 2 grapefruit — or a mix)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla beans
Bottle of white vinegar (or inexpensive vodka)
2 one-pint canning jars
Spray bottle

Peel the citrus and divide the peels between two canning jars. Break the cinnamon sticks in half and add to the jars. Slit each vanilla bean and add to the jars. Pour enough white vinegar or vodka into each jar to completely cover the peels, leaving at least 1/4 inch headroom in each jar. Screw on the lids and then set the jars in your pantry or on the kitchen counter to age. Shake the jars every few days to mix the contents. The mixture will start to turn an orangish-tan color and smell fragrant in a week or two, indicating that the spray is ready to use. Strain the contents into a spray bottle to use full strength for scrubbing roosts or nesting boxes, or mix with water to scrub the coop floor and walls. The cinnamon stick and vanilla bean can be reused for a second batch, but use fresh citrus peels. (This cleaner also makes a wonderful all-natural non-chemical kitchen cleaner.

Reprinted with permission from Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chicks…Naturally by Lisa Steele and published by St. Lynn’s Press, 2013. Buy this book from our store: Fresh Eggs Daily.


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