Chickens 101: Flock Biosecurity and Coop Cleanliness

Sep 28, 2020

To help prevent diseases and parasites and to help keep birds healthy, focus on good sanitation and biosecurity. Biosecurity is defined as a set of procedures intended to protect humans or animals against disease. The first step to a healthy flock is regular sanitation. Start by adding absorbent wood shavings to the coop floor and nest boxes, 3 to 4 inches deep to keep the area dry and odor-free. Damp litter creates conditions perfect for parasites, viruses, and bacteria to thrive. Cleaning the chicken coop can be a quick process if done regularly.

  • Daily:
    Spot check for problem areas. Remove wet or soiled bedding.
  • Weekly:
    Replace bedding.
    Clean chicken waterers, chicken feeders, and roosts. Choose a disinfectant that is safe for animals and doesn’t leave a residual film. A mixture of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water can work well. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Twice per year:
    Perform a deep clean by removing everything from the coop and sanitizing with a 90/10 solution of water and bleach.

Other tips for keeping healthy chickens:
Whenever working with backyard chickens or supplies, wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling birds and eggs.

Minimize exposure to external sources of contaminants, both human and animal. This means reducing the flock’s exposure to visitors who may own poultry; if you or a visitor has been with another flock, change your clothes and shoes to prevent carry of disease. Designate a pair of shoes or boots to be worn only when you are spending time with your flock.

Avoid wildlife and domestic pets by keeping food in safe areas, such as inside the coop or runs. Reduce contact with wild birds or their droppings by placing wild bird feeders far away from the coop and by constructing a roof or cover over the run. 

When adding new birds, follow a 30-day quarantine. Keep any new birds cooped in a different building at least 12 yards from your flock. Observe them for signs of illness and care for new birds last to help keep from spreading disease.

Communications Department

Filed Under: FeedPoultry