As much as I hate it, this is the time on the farm that my time and energy are focused outside, instead of inside. By the time I finally come back in at the end of the day, my mind and body just cannot sit at a computer and write. I love visiting with all of you through my blog, but there are just times that farm chores have to take precedence – for instance…..

Most of us set aside time to do what is considered Spring Cleaning. We take down curtains to wash, move furniture to clean behind, and thoroughly scrub our house from ceiling to floor. As back-breaking as that sounds, I would much rather be doing this inside my house than outside in my chicken coop. However, if I want healthy birds, then I have no choice!

chicken coop with red door

As small as our coop is (I think it is around 16’x24’), you would think it would be a quick and easy chore. Wrong. Although I do clean it during the year, spring and late fall is the time that I get in there and scrub everything down. Feed boxes and treat bags have to be taken out. All the waterers and feeders need to be washed and bleached. The nest boxes need to be vacuumed out. The screens need to be scrubbed with a scrub brush. The dust webs have to come down. The floors and walls have to be swept, then vacuumed. And then, everything needs to be washed down with bleach.

While doing all of this you get to wear a mask – the last thing you want to do is breath in all that dust. You need to wear a scarf or hat. You need to wear gloves. Your clothes needs to be old and bleachable. And you need to have the fortitude of Attila the Hun.

Coyote hole

To do this properly, you need to also get all the chickens out of the hen house and lock up their access points. Respiratory problems are just as threatening to them as they are to a human. Unfortunately, we didn’t have to worry about that. We discovered all too late that a critter, possibly a fox, dug a hole deep enough to go under cinder blocks, invited all his family over to our coop for an all-you-can-eat buffet. One morning we had over 20 birds, that evening all we had left were a few feathers.

Although my heart flooded with tears, I decided that this would be the best time to clean. It has been a sporadic cleaning, as the rain we have been having has made it difficult to work. But the majority of it is done, and my new chicks have a nice clean home. My muscles are about to get a good workout as well, because we will be digging a trench deep enough to sink sheets of tin in it to try and discourage any more digging. We are also going to put a new covering over the yard to deter hawks. And I really need to get busy on that, because all it took was a trip to Tractor Supply….

Baby Chicks

baby yellow chicks

Spring cleaning a chicken house is hot, dirty, exhausting work. But like our own homes, it has to be done. Next time, though, I think I will be saving my money and seeing if I can con someone else to come do it. Now, if I can just save enough to find someone to do the same thing to my house, I will be in high cotton!!! And I will even provide the head scarfs, gloves and gas masks!

For more fun with chickens, be sure to read The Chickens Ate My Unmentionables!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. OMG! When was the fox attack? Was it this year? It must have made you furious to have had this happen while you all hadn’t heard a darn thing! I think that the Farm Boy should do a little fox-calling (via a recording or a voice-call) and shoot the varmints!

    1. Author

      It was just a couple of weeks ago. It was raining that day, so we figure that is why we didn’t hear anything – the chickens were in the coop to keep dry, and the critter got in there with them. Furious doesn’t even cover it, Gary. And, uh…hmmm…shooting a fox is a federal offense, unfortunately. Soooo….the Country Boy will be renewing his trapping license very shortly…… You should see my coop today, with all those baby chicks in there, and more to come tomorrow. Fort Knox will probably be scheduling a tour so they can improve on their own security!!! 🙂

      1. Glad to hear it! I don’t know how things are down there in Louisiana, but up here in rural Wisconsin, if you hear a shotgun or rifle go off in the evening, you just mind your own business. 😉 Gary

        1. Author

          Yep. We just all agree to say it’s just George shooting armadillos…again…..

  2. Love reading all your articles. Thank you for sharing your life.

    1. Author

      Thank you for your kind comment, Pat. I am so glad you like them – and you are welcome!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.