Raising chickens is fun for the whole family. Kids especially love collecting fresh eggs.
Hen houses or chicken houses can be a messy pain to clean out. Chickens will poop everywhere: Inside nest boxes or on top of nesting structures, on chicken runs, roosts and of course on the chicken house floor.
Did you know you can build your own chicken coop so that it’s easier to clean? Step by step chicken coop plans for easy to clean hen houses aren’t really any different than building a regular backyard chicken coop. If you already have your backyard chicken coop built you can still make simple changes which will make it easier to keep clean and the changes will not cost much.
Easiest Way to Keep Chicken Coop Clean
One of the easiest things you can do to help keep your chicken coop clean is to let your chickens free range during the day. As a chicken owner you will need to make sure your chickens will be safe if from predators if you do decide to free range them. The chicken house or hen house if you are still in the planning stages, the chicken coop designs will need to include a door which you can prop open during the day so the hens can come and go as they please. They will be free to free range but will still be able to come back to the chicken coop to the nesting box to lay eggs and to roost when the sun goes down. Chickens are very regular and will head to their hen house when the sun starts going down. All you will have to do is shut the door after the last chicken goes inside. One of the great benefits to free range chicken is they will spend most of the day free ranging and pooping outside the hen house or chicken run.
If free ranging isn’t an option for you then another easy thing you can do is to put down a thick layer of bedding in the hen house. Ideally the best chicken coop would have 4″ of bedding down. Chickens love to scratch and dig so 4″ of bedding is ideal. Chicken coops may have less bedding depending on how many hens you have inside the hen house. This bedding should be changed every three months or so depending on how many are in your flock and how well ventilated your coop is. Also having a chicken run or hen yard is ideal. Use chicken wire to fence the yard in.
Chicken owners use many different materials for the bedding. Most people use straw or wood shavings although some people find wood chips to be ideal. Putting down the bedding should be very easy. Spread it out inside the chicken coop with a rake and make it about four inches thick and that’s it! Add more bedding as needed and every three months or so remove the bedding and lay down fresh bedding inside the hen house. The soiled straw may be added to your compost pile.
Another super easy to clean and attractive backyard chicken coop design is a movable coop design knows as a “chicken tractor”. Chicken tractors are used for smaller flocks or backyard chickens and don’t need much cleaning. The chicken tractor is moved around your field or pasture so the droppings are all left behind. Every time you move this coop your chickens will have a new clean patch of ground to be on. These coops normally include a chicken run so the hens are also outdoors and aren’t just in the chicken tractor. Some people choose to let their hens free range from the chicken tractor. This is a great option for a small flock and if you are wanting an outdoor chicken coop which is movable. The tractors coop designs also include a waterer and feeder as well as nesting structures.