Chickens inevitably cause a mess, and if you don’t keep on top of it, you could find yourself with a smelly coop and a myriad of health problems for both your chickens and you. With this in mind, it’s important to maintain a fresh-smelling coop, but what’s the best way to do this?
There are five main ways to make a chicken coop smell better:
1. Circulate the air in the coop
2. Remove excess water and moisture
3. Clean at regular intervals
4. Put fresh herbs in nesting and sleeping areas
5. Use an enzymatic treatment
Before we dive into how to keep your chicken coop smelling good in more detail, it’s important to first understand the benefits of a fresh coop, for both you and your flock.
Why Should Your Chicken Coop Smell Good?
No one wants their home to smell badly, and that includes chickens. When not looked after properly, coops can develop the smell of ammonia. This is unpleasant for everyone, including your chickens.
If the smell gets too bad, you may notice they refuse to enter the coop to nest, instead, putting themselves in danger by nesting out in the open. Another risk is the passing of disease caused by a build up of dirt and faeces.
If one of your chickens gets sick from bacteria, it won’t take long for the disease to spread to your other chickens. This is far from ideal, highlighting the need for a clean coop to protect the safety of your flock.
Humans can easily become infected with salmonella if their chicken coop is dirty. Salmonella is commonly passed on when someone touches chicken faeces – often without realising they have – and then they touch their mouth.
If your chicken coop is clean and largely free of faeces this risk is minimised. This is a major reason to clean your coop and, consequently, keep it smelling nice.
What’s more, you won’t need to spend as much time cleaning your eggs if the nesting area is kept in good condition because there will be less dirt and bacteria on them, again reducing the risk of disease or illness.
If you don’t clean your coop and ensure it’s smelling good regularly, you may miss important health warnings. A clean coop makes it easier to spot signs your chickens behaviour has changed, furthering the need to keep things tidy for both you and your chickens.
So, now we know why it’s important to keep a clean coop and what can be gained from it, let’s explore in more detail how you can go about maintaining a pleasant home for your chickens that is free of odours and bad smells.
1. Circulate the Air in Your Coop
If you don’t open the windows in your house, the air gets stale and it starts to smell bad. The same happens in your chicken coop. One of the easiest ways to make a chicken coop smell better is to simply install a box fan and have it running at a low speed. This will keep the air moving and allow new air to come in, ensuring any odours are removed.
In addition to this, a fan can help to keep flies and other insects out, and also maintain a cool temperature within the coop which will help to make your hens feel comfortable, particularly in summer.
2. Don’t Allow Water or Moisture in the Coop
Water can contribute massively to a smelly coop which means you need to make sure it’s kept to a minimum. This may mean swapping a water bowl for a suspended waterer (provided all your chickens are big enough to reach one) and fixing any cracks or crevices where water could be seeping in from.
When water reacts with chicken faeces, it causes the smell of ammonia. This is strong and unpleasant and, as mentioned, could force your chickens out of the coop. Make sure you take steps to reduce water and moisture within the coop by soaking it up and keeping droppings as far away from water as possible.
3. Carry out a Regular Cleaning Schedule
The best way to make a chicken coop smell better is to maintain a regular cleaning schedule. Some people prefer to use shallow bedding. If this is you, you should aim to replace the bedding once a week, using vinegar and water spray to neutralise any odours. If you adopt a deep bedding approach, you can feasibly go one month without changing it.
Ideally, you should do a full deep clean every six months to ensure everywhere is spotless and like new. If you keep on top of changing the bedding, the deep clean shouldn’t be too arduous.
4. Use Fresh Herbs in Sleeping and Nesting Areas
We can all appreciate the beautiful smell of rose petals and fresh herbs, and the great thing is, they’re perfectly safe to put in your chicken coop. A sprinkling of petals or mint in the nesting area will create the aroma of a fresh garden right in the middle of your coop. Mint can also drive away certain types of pests, helping to further protect your hens from unwanted visitors and the risk of disease.
What’s more, your chickens will enjoy foraging for the sweet treats, so not only will the coop smell nice, but your chickens will get a tasty snack out of it, too!
5. Enzymatic Treatment
The final way you can make your chicken coop smell good is to use an enzymatic treatment if you notice a strong smell of ammonia. The treatment is designed to break down enzymes found in chicken faeces and urine, therefore neutralising the odour and resulting in a fresher smelling coop. However, if you are going to use this method, make sure you buy a veterinarian-approved treatment.
Hopefully, by implementing the above five methods, you’ll be able to make a chicken coop smell better in no time, resulting in a happier flock and a happier you!
Eggshell Chicken Coops
A high-quality coop is easier to keep clean, so you can keep your birds happy and healthy all year round. At Eggshell Online, our team designs and builds chicken coops and homes that are simple to maintain and will last the test of time. Explore our selection of coops, give us a call at 01903 756121, or send us an email with any questions.