Most chicken keepers have some amount of equipment in storage. They might be things used only seasonally, like chick feeders, drinkers, incubators, and brooders. Or they might be feed cups, waterers, and pet carriers used only during the show season. Other things might simply be spares that can be swapped out so the dirty ones can be cleaned. Here are eight good reasons to store poultry equipment clean, rather than letting it sit around dirty until you need it.
1. It’s more sanitary
Many microbes cannot survive without moisture and/or nutrients. Caked on feed or poop attract moisture and provide nutrients. By cleaning equipment and then storing it in a dry place, you reduce the chance of spreading nasty germs.
2. No need for a disinfectant
Unless you have had a health issue, cleaning equipment right after it’s been used typically does not require the extra expense of using a disinfectant. Once the equipment is thoroughly clean and dry, microbes have been banished and have no incentive to return.
3. It’s much easier
Cleaning fresh feed or poop off equipment takes a lot less elbow grease that scraping off lumps of dried gunk. If you then store the cleaned equipment where it won’t gather dirt and dust, it will be ready to use any time you need it.
4. It’s easier on equipment
Washing or wiping equipment while feed residue and poop are still fresh and soft results in much less wear and tear, compared to the scraping and scrubbing that is usually necessary after the stuff has dried.
5. It requires less water
Because cleaning freshly used equipment is easier, it requires less water that would otherwise be needed to soak dried gunk until it comes loose. Whether you’re on metered water or on a well, watching water usage is always a good idea.
6. Feed residue attracts rodents
Even if you dump out any remaining feed, unless a feeder is then washed clean, there’s always some residue. Rodents that come to feed on it will leave behind germ-laden calling cards.
7. Clean equipment lasts longer
Metal feeders and drinkers rust much more rapidly when left caked with feed and poop, compared to those that are cleaned, dried, and stored in a dry place.
8. You’ll feel better
Looking at a stack of dirty poultry equipment is depressing, because you know that sooner or later you’ll have to clean it. And the longer you put it off, the harder it seems to be to get motivated.
Rather than seeing a pile of dirty equipment that, likely as not, you’ll need before you get around to cleaning it, wouldn’t you feel better seeing a shelf full of nice clean equipment, ready for use?
And that’s today’s news from the Cackle Coop.
Gail Damerow is the author of Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.