Chickens are becoming increasingly popular as a backyard pet, and for a good reason. They provide you with eggs daily, and they take care of pests like termites.
They can be easy to care for, depending on which breed you get. But the one main question that most people have about chickens is, are they messy?
Chickens are not messy of their own accord but do create a mess when they are confined to a small space like a chicken coop. The chicken coop must be cleaned regularly. Free-range chickens are less messy, but their overnight roosting hutch will need to be cleaned.
What are the main issues that make a chicken’s area look messy? How can you reduce the amount of mess that your chickens make?
You can utilize many methods to help keep your chicken’s area clean; let us find out what they are.
Are Chickens Messy In A Coop?
Chickens are not inherently messy, but chickens kept in chicken coops can be quite messy as they are kept in a confined area and cannot clean up after themselves. Chicken coops also generally have no grass because the chickens would have dug the grass up.
This can lead to a lot of dust being kicked up, which can further increase the messiness of the chicken coop. However, there are two main culprits for the messiness of a chicken coop; these are the chicken poop and rodents.
Let us have a look at these two issues.
The Poop Problem
Chickens poop a lot, and they do not care where they poop either. So, if your chickens live in a chicken coop and you do not clean it out every day, then the poop will begin to pile up and make the coop very messy and smelly.
When cleaning the chicken coop, you need to clean everything as there could be poop in every little crevasse in the chicken coop. You need to do this because not only does this poop make the coop look messy, but the chicken poop is also a health hazard for both you and your chickens.
Chicken poop is filled with bacteria and can have a lot of parasites living in it too. If you leave the poop for too long in the coop, then you or your chickens may get sick from it.
Chickens Attract Rodents
Keeping chickens in a coop will attract rodents as rodents are smart and realize that they can get a good supply of food and fresh water at your chicken coop. The chicken feed you place out for your chickens, as well as the leftover food you give them, will attract rodents, no matter how sealed your chicken coop is.
These rodents will help create the mess in your chicken coops, not only from eating the chicken feed but also from fighting with your chickens. There may be many feathers to clean up in your chicken coop if you have rodents there, which will add to the messiness of the coop.
Are Free-Range Chickens Messy?
Free-range chickens tend to be less messy compared to coop chickens, as they have a larger space to roam around. And even though they may dig up a piece or two of grass as they forage, they will not be able to dig up everything, so there will be less dust adding to the mess.
So, what makes free-range chickens less messy in the two main areas mentioned above when compared to coop chickens? Let us have a look.
Is There A Poop Problem?
As free-range chickens have more space to run around and forage, they do not poop in the same area all day. So, their daily poop is more spread out and will be in the grass or flowerbeds, which will be a good fertilizer for them anyway, meaning you do not need to clean up the poop.
As the free-range chicken poop is spread out, the area they stay in looks less messy, and this will also mean that there will be less of a smell with free-range chickens. Their poop is also less likely to spread disease and parasites, as they will not be walking and eating over their poop all day.
Do Free-Range Chickens Make A Rodent Problem?
Keeping your chickens free-range is less likely to attract rodents as the chickens forage for most of their food and are only fed supplementary. When the chickens get fed this extra food, they eat it all, leaving none for rodents to snack on.
Free-range chickens will ‘live off the land,’ so to speak; they will forage for food in the ground and drink from natural water sources they find in the area. This means that the chickens will not attract more rodents to the area, so fewer creatures mess up the space.
How To Reduce The Mess Chickens Make
No matter how you keep your chickens, there are ways to help reduce the mess they make. Some of the solutions that are below are easy to implement compared to others, but they will all work in reducing the mess from your chickens.
Let us go through them so you can choose which ones will work best for you.
Keep A Cleaning Schedule
If you keep all your chickens locked in a coop, then the easiest way to help reduce the mess from your chickens is to clean your chicken coop more regularly. To help ensure this gets done promptly, you can make a coop cleaning schedule.
To ensure there is no accumulation of anything in your chicken coop that will make it messy, you need to clean your coop at least once a week. If you have a family, you can each take turns cleaning the chicken coop.
Just ensure that you wear the appropriate safety gear when you or anyone else is cleaning out the coop, as you do not want anyone to get sick.
Let Your Coop Chickens Forage
A great way to help reduce the mess in your chicken coop is to let your chickens forage for a few hours every day. This will get your chickens out of the coop, so they will poop in a larger area, making the poop more spread out.
This will help reduce the mess in the chicken coop and help reduce the spread of disease among your chickens. This is also a brilliant time to clean out the chicken coop as the chickens will not be in your way.
Set Out Rodent Traps
To help with the rodent problem that will happen due to your chickens, you can put out some ethical rodent traps to get rid of them. You need to use the ethical rodent traps as you do not want your chickens eating poison meant for the rodents or your chickens eating the rodents that have been poisoned.
Remember, chickens will eat meat if they are given the option to.
Do Not Keep Chicken Feed Out Too Long
If you are feeding your chickens a chicken feed mix, then you should only feed them as much as they need, and you should throw it on the floor for your chickens to forage for. If you are going to give your chickens some leftovers as a treat, you should give the food to them in a food trough that you can easily clean.
If you can easily clean up the food and not leave it out to rot, this will be better because if the food is left, it will attract rodents and make the area look messy.
Chickens are not messy creatures by nature as they were meant to roam the land, but if you keep all your chickens in an enclosed area and do not clean up after them, they will be messy.
Like with all animals kept as pets, if you do not take care of them and clean up after them, the area they live in will be messy.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house. Growing up, I had pet dogs, cats, deer, sugar gliders, chinchillas, a bird, chickens, fish, and a goat.