Keeping chickens can be a super fulfilling hobby and lifestyle, but it’s definitely not the most glamorous. In fact, if your chickens roam your property freely, they will most certainly poop all over your yard.
Don’t fret though, dealing with animal waste is just a normal by-product of keeping animals, especially chickens because they don’t actually have any control over when and where they poop. This is because they don’t have a sphincter, which is what mammals use to control defecation.
Knowing what to expect when keeping chickens will help to prepare you for the mess that comes with it.
Despite the randomness of their defecation schedule, there are ways you can prepare or even train them to poop in certain places to make your job easier.
For example, you can invest in a roosting stick to cater to your chicken’s pooping in their sleep. A roosting stick is an alternative to our chickens sleeping in the nest where they are pretty likely to poop as they sleep. After all, you don’t want your chickens pooping all over the eggs you planned to use for breakfast the next morning, right?
How do you get rid of chicken poop on your lawn?
Chickens can create a lot of mess, so a regular cleaning regime is an important aspect of keeping chickens.
Cleaning up after a coop of chickens that each defecate around 15 times per day is no mean feat.
Feces create an environment for bacteria to grow, so it is vital that you remove it as often as possible to remove germs and nasty odors that will affect your chickens' happiness as well as the smell of your yard. Fortunately, chicken poop is generally pretty small and easy to handle.
However, it can be toxic if consumed, so it is vital that you have a pair of gloves dedicated to this job or use disposable gloves. You also need to be washing your hands regularly if you deal with chickens on a regular basis and avoid touching your mouth.
It’s also a good idea to wear proper shoes like wellies that you only wear specifically for tending to the chickens and the coop to avoid bringing any germs or muck into your home.
Here are some tips for getting rid of chicken poop:
- Use a rake - you may be able to simply pick up fresher feces using gloves. However, older poop that has gone hard and caked into the ground can be tricker. For this, try using a rake or a brush, it’s a quick and easy way to remove poop on your lawn. Make sure these tools are used exclusively for this job as you don’t want any cross-contamination with other garden tools or in your home
- Scoop up the poop - if you don’t want to remove the poop with gloved hands, you can use a scooping tool. These can also be super useful for removing soiled bedding and other materials when cleaning out the coop
- Dilute messier waste - sometimes removing chicken poop isn’t as simple as brushing away hard droppings. So, for messier waste we recommended washing it away with a hose or bucket of water
How much does a chicken poop per day?
How much and how often chickens poop per day depends on the size of the chicken and what and how much they eat.
Adult chickens tend to poop around every half an hour or even more often depending on the chicken and their diet.
You average healthy chicken will poop around 12 to 15 times a day. There are no specific times for when chickens tend to poop. They will go to the bathroom throughout the entire day including the night.
That’s right, chickens even poop in their sleep and actually have no control over when they need to go. This is because chickens don’t have a sphincter which is what gives mammals control over where and when they poop.
It’s a good idea to know what ‘healthy’ chicken poop looks like as it can vary in consistency and color. What you feed your chickens can have a big impact on the kind of droppings they leave all over your yard.
For example, if their water intake increases, they are likely to pass watery droppings which can be harder to clean up and will require hosing away with water.
So, if you don’t want you yard to be covered in messy droppings it’s recommended you keep an eye on exactly what you are feeding your chickens.
Chickens also defecate ‘cecals’ every eight to ten droppings. This is different to normal poop and is more yellow/ brown.
What do you do with backyard chicken poop?
Chicken feces can be very dangerous to human health and can easily contaminate you food and water supply, so you need to be very careful when disposing with chicken poop from your backyard.
Once you’ve successfully removed all the feces from your backyard, if you’ve scooped up all the droppings you’re probably wondering what to do with them now, right?
The best way to do this is to compost as much of it as possible. All you need to do is add the feces to your compost bin. This is great because over time you’ll be able to reuse this waste for fertilizer.
Chicken manure can take up to six months to become useful fertilizer. It is recommended that you turn the compost pile often to speed up the process.
As a side note, you should never mix other animal manure with chicken manure so if your chicken manure is contaminated you should dispose of it.
Chicken feces have high levels of nitrogen, so it’s important that this gets properly broken down to avoid any toxins leaking into your food and water supply.
To do this, make sure you place high carbon things such as leaves and grass, for example. Alternatively, washing away wet feces will also help to break down the nitrogen.