It’s coming up to Spring now and you may be thinking about doing the famous ‘Spring clean’ for your own house. But what about your chickens? It’s very important to clean chicken housing in order to prevent pests like mites. Seasonal cleaning routines like this should be incorporated into your care around twice a year. Make the most of the warmer weather now and make sure your poultry are living in the highest of standards, and there will be less problems further down the road! Besides, cleaning out your poultry’s home is a great opportunity to spend time with them.
1. Check for Lice, Mites & Other Pests
Lice and mites can spread disease and reduce the egg laying capacity of your chickens. To do this, wear some gloves and part the feathers under their wing and around the vent (where they lay eggs from) and look out for any parasites that may scuttle back underneath the feathers. Also look out for louse eggs. Red mites should be checked for in the poultry housing, look under perches, crevices, joints etc, try to be very thorough. There are a range of products you can use if you find these pests, but even if you don’t, it’s still a good idea to use them for prevention.
Popular Treatments for Pests:
- Mite Powder – dusted directly onto the birds.
- Mite Concentrate – diluted with water and then sprayed into their housing.
- Smite – Diluted with water for red mite and other pests.
- Mite Kill Spray – sprayed directly into their housing.
- Diatom powder – dusted around their housing.
2. Treat for Worms
Even if it’s not immediately apparent that your chickens are suffering from worms, it’s a good idea to worm your poultry around every 3 months. There are a couple ways of doing so, you can buy Flubenvet and then mix it into their feed by hand, or you can do it easier with pre-mixed wormer feed. Products like Marriages with Flubenvet replace your normal chicken’s feed for a week and contains all the preventional/treatment chemicals needed to do away with worms. You’ll need around 1kg per bird. Other products like Verm-X also do a similar job. This treatment is especially important in Spring/Summer when worms are more common.
3. Muck Out their Housing
The glamorous part of the process, it’s as simple as getting a shovel and knuckling down. Remove all the dirt and shavings and load them into a big bucket. Dump all this waste either onto a compost heap or into plastic bags, where inside it will compost for next year.
4. Check for Damages
Do a visual check of all parts of their housing. If it is damaged, this is a great time to make repairs. However, the housing may be beyond repair and it might be a good idea to update their housing or add on additional units. You should also repaint their housing to make sure that their home is more weatherproof.
5. Disinfect & Clean Chicken Housing
Once the housing is empty, you’re going to need to disinfectant it all before laying down the new bedding. Popular disinfectants include Stalosan F and Aqueos…don’t use Jeyes Fluid, as this is poisonous to poultry! Use the products thoroughly, taking special care to apply to the corners. You should also disinfect any feeders, drinkers and similar items alongside the housing. Be sure to scrub, as your daily/weekly cleans may not have been in depth enough. Once you’ve disinfected, rinse with water to remove all traces of any cleaning solution, but don’t leave it wet, make sure they are all dried before moving onto the next step.
6. Make Sure Bedding is Changed
Damp shavings should be avoided at all costs, as many nasties thrive in these conditions. Easichick is a popular bedding because it is dust free, bacteria free and biodegradable. Other alternatives include Fresh Bed.
7. A Change of Location?
By now it may be a good idea to move the housing to a different location with fresher grass, as your chickens may have scratched away all the vegetation at there current location.
8. Prepare for Spring Showers
April showers will be on their way, and the ground will soon become damp and sodden. To combat this, make sure you have plenty of clean straw, bark chippings or gravel scattered around their housing. This is so that when the chickens move around their housing outside, there is less chance of mud and other filth accumulating on the eggs that they lay. Pay particular attention to the entrance of housing, as a lot of mud can possibly occur here.