It seemed like winter would never end but now the days are getting longer, spring bulbs are in bloom. Our hen houses, however, have taken a bit of a beating with lockdown so just as we spring clean our own houses now is the time to spring clean our hen houses.
Pull-on those scruffy clothes or overalls, don a headscarf, and dig out a face mask. Next, find a pair of Marigold gloves, a stiff hand brush and pan, a small scrubbing brush, a paint scraper, a bucket of hot water, and your cleaning product of choice.
Choose a fine dry day and remove everything from inside your hen house, which includes perches if they are not fixed. Bag up all the dirty bedding and, starting at the top, brush the ceiling and walls to remove loose dust and dander (this is why the mask is essential).
Next, get into those far corners (a paint scraper is a godsend for getting debris out of nooks and crannies). If you have a slatted wooden house, run the edge of the scraper along the joins, then go back and use the stiff brush again. Use the scraper to remove dried-on droppings from the lower parts of the walls especially near and along the perches and inside the nest boxes.
If you have been able to completely remove your perches, stand them in the bucket of hot water and use your scraper and scrubbing brush to give them a comprehensive cleaning. Finally, concentrate on the floor.
Now you will need to methodically clean the house to remove dirt and grease. We always like to use hot water and detergent to deal with the worst of the dirt (working from the top down and not forgetting the ceiling). Then an all-around disinfectant, cleaner, and mite killer such as Nettex Mite Kill Ready to Use Solution can be applied; once it has dried there will still be a residual action against mites and other crawling insects.
Feeders and drinkers will benefit from being soaked in hot water and disinfectant but remember to rinse them well and allow them to dry before refilling. Plastic housing can be pressure washed if circumstances allow but will still benefit from a disinfectant treatment.
Once dry, replace all fixtures and fittings and refresh bedding. A ground and bedding sanitiser sprinkled in the nest boxes, bedding, and even on the ground outside the pop hole will set your hens up for the spring.
Now is also a good time to check for any damage to your hen house, repair any loose panels, torn felt, or sagging wire; you may even decide a coat of paint or wood stain is appropriate. If you feel adventurous, wood stains come in a variety of colours!
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