Recycling In The Coop

Clean Nesting Boxes

 Part of the regular routine of keeping chickens is making sure they have a clean coop. It can get out of hand really fast if you let it go. This morning was another one those days. The hotter it gets outside, the earlier in the day I like to do it. Its just much easier that way.

In order to clean out the coop I needed to gather a few materials:
  1. gloves
  2. ventilator type mask (Always wear a mask to keep from getting sick)
  3. flat edged shovel
  4. small handled shovel
  5. brush
  6. clean bedding material
My first priority is to always keep the nesting boxes clean. This keeps the eggs cleaner when I gather them each day. I empty these and refill them every few days. I only have to knock the bedding into the floor and add fresh into the boxes. Easy-peasy. 

If I keep the floor covered with a good layer of bedding material (straw, wood shavings, shredded paper) then the chickens scratch it around and keep it fairly manageable. Most of the issue you have here is during the nights when chickens come in to roost. They will always perch themselves in a row on a roost above the floor. The floor under the roosts takes the worst hit as you can imagine from the chickens.  Add to that the entrance area where they come in and out of the coop. So to make cleaning easier, I monitor those areas and clean them out using my flat edged shovel. I shove all of the waste material through the chicken entrance out into their yard.

Shredded paper added on the floor

I know the work sounds gruesome, but its a great way to recycle. About a year ago I started using our cross-cut shredder to produce material for the nesting boxes and coop. I shred things like newspaper, junk mail, old statements and anything that has personal information I don't want to go into the regular trash. I steer away from ALL shiny, slick and highly colored paper. There are known toxins in the paper and I don't want to add that into the mix. Its a win-win situation for us. We get to recycle, save money on bedding and also compost the material for our garden.

The dirty bedding that gets tossed out into the chicken yard starts decomposing further. The chickens naturally  scratch around and dig so they break the material down pretty fast. 

The funny part about using the shredded paper and newspaper in the nesting box is this - We sometimes end up with print on the eggs. Its like having decorated Easter eggs all year.


  1. Do you then rake up the bits from the chicken run/yard to toss in the compost bin? We used to just transfer the tidied out contents directly to the compost bin so it had time to break down for spreading on the bed in fall or spring.

  2. I use a method of composting in the chicken yard called "deep litter method" I have a previous post on it. Basically it breaks down quickly and is less apt to burn plants. I clean out my chicken yard every 4-6 months taking 6" or so off the top. I do add the composted manure directly to my garden, but try to allow a couple of months for it to set. Ex. I add it to my garden in the Fall for Spring planting. I've used it earlier, and it does fine but I'd be wary though. I hope this helps answer your question.


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