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How to Keep a Chicken and Duck Pen from Smelling

Updated February 21, 2017

Chickens and ducks are farmyard birds that scratch around in the dust and produce large amounts of animal waste. Therefore, keeping their pen odour-free can be a challenge. However, you can keep the smells of the coop or pen minimised by looking after the animals and the pen properly. Organization and cleaning are crucial to achieving this. By following these steps, you will not only reduce the smell of the birds' enclosure, but you will also improve the health of the animals and give them a more pleasant environment to live in.

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  1. Collect the chickens and ducks. Move them out of the pen and into another safe place while you clean the pen.

  2. Take out all of the bedding from the pens. If using bedding such as straw, you can recycle it as a fertiliser by leaving it to compost down. Do this twice a week to avoid a build up of ammonia from the chickens' droppings.

  3. Use the sweeping brush to get rid of all the debris on the floor of the pen. Add the material to the compost heap.

  4. Remove the troughs, water feeders and any other objects that are inside the pen. Throw out all the food and clean the troughs and water feeders thoroughly with hot soapy water. Leave them to air-dry. Perform this once a week, and ensure no rotting food is left lying around.

  5. Mix a cup of bleach into a bucket of hot soapy water. Scrub the pen out from top to bottom with a wire brush. Scrub vigorously to ensure a thorough cleaning.

  6. Place new, fresh bedding on the floor of the pen. Put back the feeding troughs and water feeders, and fill them with fresh food and water. Return the birds to their pen.

  7. Tip

    Avoid using chemicals to remove the smell of the birds --- this only masks the problem. Clean as often as you can. Ideally, replace duck bedding once a day. Chicken bedding can be replaced twice a week. Put on old clothes and wear gloves and boots when cleaning the pen. Always provide fresh water and food for your birds.


    Smells are caused by decaying food, a dirty pen or faeces. Cleaning and good maintenance of the chicken and duck pen is crucial to preventing odours.

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Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Sweeping Brush
  • Wire brush
  • Hot soapy water
  • Sponge
  • Fresh bedding

About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.

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