An inspiringly clean chicken coop

May 13, 2011 | By | Comments (76)
Jim McCausland, one of Sunset’s main contributors to our sister blog, Fresh Dirt, recently posted this nice write-up about a sparkling-clean chicken coop in Bend, Oregon.

The poop hammock at Michelle Tullis’ henhouse.

Here at Sunset, we solve the problem of the nightly droppings cascade by having a henhouse with an open-mesh bottom. The whole structure sits on stilts (high enough to prevent a hungry racoon from shooting an arm up through the mesh and grabbing a chicken leg), and the droppings fall through to a straw bed underneath…which we periodically rake out into our compost bin. It’s a little less work than emptying a hammock and seems to suit us and our chickens.

Michelle Tullis, the clean-coop owner, also elevates her feeder and waterer so that dust, dirt, and feathers don’t get mixed in. Admirable.

Feeder Waterer

Our solution is to simply hang the feeder and the waterer from the top of the coop’s roof. It works, sorta. We still get a fair amount of dirt in the water, and twigs and such in the food. So I love the way Michelle has positioned rocks and pebbles around both—no way any chicken can kick up dirt from stone!—and we might do the same. She’s clearly spent some quality time watching her birds and analyzing their behavior.

Anything a chicken-owner can do to keep a coop clean is a good thing. It keeps both hens and humans healthy. And helps deter R-A-T-S.


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  2. Roger

    I love this stones around feeder and water can. What about poop in rocks and cleaning them

    February 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm
  3. Kaye

    This is genius. Less work & healthy for your flock.

    July 1, 2016 at 10:04 pm
  4. Angela

    I’m wanting to have chickens can you share any tips for a first timer 😊

    May 9, 2016 at 3:45 am
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  6. Deborah Griner

    Hi I have a problem. My hens use their nesting boxes for pooping. They have always just used one for laying , all 4, and now not at all. Help

    March 13, 2016 at 3:45 pm
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  25. Mary

    Love the idea about using stones. Where I live in Western Australia it is so dusty and the chickens do make a mess of their water and feeders. I wilk test this idea. Or posdibly I might use some old pavers?

    November 23, 2015 at 5:08 pm
  26. Lara

    Unfortunately when you have ducks also, there is nothing clean…😕

    November 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm
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    Why is there no article about the clean coop in bend. Jus info about how you guys do it. I do see the info on food and water . But why no info on actual clean coop . Build, care, maintenance ???

    September 26, 2015 at 5:45 am
  30. Janie

    Don’t understand the purpose of the hammock — if the droppings are eventually to be in the hay.
    Otherwise brilliant ideas!!!

    September 21, 2015 at 8:34 am
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  42. Mike Delaney

    The poop hammock is a great idea. Another easy way, is to simply put thin wide boards (I have 1x12s) under the roosts. The chickens poop on them, and then I simply scrap them into my compost pile or into the garden about once or twice a week. You don’t have to worry about raccoons and the smell is eliminated. I haven’t changed the pine shavings in my coop for a year because there is no need to.

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  54. Dawn E. Sarver

    just a great looking coop! I also use poop nets (hammocks) and as a quick note, they r a breeze to clean, daily i scrape the droppings off and every other day or so i take them out and hose them off , nearly no Oder minimum poo on floor, .I have linoleum on floor then deep litter, may change to sand this summer, still investigating that option…..

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  57. ChickenCoopAtHome (@chickencoophome)

    I simple love the idea of that elevated feeder, maybe I should decorate mine with ornamental stones which I have as an excess from my garden landscaping tasks last week. Thankyou for giving me this idea. I love your clean coop.

    September 20, 2013 at 1:34 am
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  61. Judy Bass

    I also am fixing up a little coop. But the problem I’m having is putting new wiring on it. I’ve got more staples and nails and it than Fort Knox. It has two layers of wiring… The old and the new!!! hoping to have it ready for my for a little ladies very soon. just trying to make sure that it is safe for my new all the tips on here and I will be using several of them right away

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  65. Geoffrey Barger

    We use a 3 gallon bucket with the “nipple” style emitters. We hang the waterer, it never get s dirty and the birds took to it in minutes. Food also hangs.

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  66. Julie – Gardening it Easy

    What great ideas! We are building a new coop soon and I am looking for ideas like these to keep it cleaner and neater!

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    Consider wearing a dust mask when cleaning the chicken coop.

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  74. mary

    Hi, Please don’t laugh when you read this because i can tell you tears are fallling on my keyboard. I really wanted to have chickens here at our place. we live out in the country so no zoning restrictions or anything like that. I have been reading on how to clean the coops and othe info. Well I found a coop that needed a little work but that was no problem. There are 18 nest sites and being so excited to get the coop at a reasonable price I thought well i can clean everything up. So I started , well there was so much chicken poop in the nest and had turned to almost concrete so i tried to start digging. that didn’t work sop i brought the garden hose in and filled the nest with water, not know there was no drainagc holes in the nest. I didn’t give up though as I stired and scrapped and finally got the poop loose. Drilled some holes in the nests to let the water out but the poop was so thick it would not drain out. I didn’t give up though. I took a cup and started dipping, but could not get all of the water out. By this time, 4 hours later, I am beginning to give up . I am covered with chicken poop, my hands are brown from dipping out the poop as it seeped in my gloves, my fault when i started out i didn’t need rubber gloves but then encountered water nightmare.
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  75. Vicki Silvius

    I’ve been raising chickens for over 30 years-I use a tire (rim still inside)to elevate & level waterer

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