Amberley O.S.H.C.

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4.7.1 Chicken Coop Cleaning and Maintenance

In recent times, many OSHC providers and schools are enriching their programs and embedding sustainable practices into their day to day work with children and families.  One of these practices includes keeping chickens.

Services are encouraged to implement good health and hygiene practices when caring for and handling chickens at the service.

Cleaning the coop is an important health and hygiene control and services should implement safeguards to ensure the coop is maintained while protecting educator’s health and wellbeing.

 Relevant Laws and other Provisions

The laws and other provisions affecting this policy include:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act (2010) and Regulations (2011)
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Regulations 2011
  • Duty of Care
  • NQS Area: 2.1.3, 2.1.4; 2.3.2; 3.1.2.
  • Policies: 1 – General Health and Safety, 4.3 – Hygiene, 4.4 – Preventative Health and Wellbeing, 6.2 – Provision of resources and Equipment, 6.3 – Work, Health and Safety.

Procedures

When cleaning the coop, consideration should be given to:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  This includes items such as a face mask, gloves and protective footwear (such as gum boots).  Waterproof, protective clothing may also be a worthwhile investment, particularly if the staff member is not going to shower and change clothes immediately after the coop has been cleaned.

Staff taking responsibility for cleaning the coop should consider doing this in the absence of children.  The bacteria in chicken faeces and feathers may be airborne and if inhaled can cause respiratory infection or illness.  Taking care with cleaning and maintenance minimises the risk of any such hazards.

Coop cleaning process to be followed:

  1. Shovel and scrape all of the manure, dirt, soiled bedding and feathers into a sturdy garbage bag for removal. It’s important to be thorough in this step.
  2. Use a hose with a firm spray to give the walls, floors, roosts, and nesting boxes a good spray down to remove the fine dust and soften any stuck-on manure or dirt.
  3. Scrape, shovel and bag again. Do a final sweeping/scraping of any remaining, softened manure or dirt, then allow the water to drain or, sweep it out.
  4. Use natural cleaning products to spray the coop. (The most basic option for cleaning your chicken coop is a mixture of white vinegar and water. Simply mix about 15ml of vinegar with water in a spray bottle). Spray on and lightly hose off.
  5. Disposable PPE should be bagged for removal. Staff should thoroughly wash their hands after they have cleaned the coop.

Ongoing maintenance is important and a record should be made on the service’s cleaning schedule of when the coop has been cleaned and by whom.  Regular cleaning (weekly) is recommended for coops to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing.

Guidelines for handling chickens

  • Ensure that the children wash their hands prior to and after handling chickens;
  • Consideration should be given to those with allergies to eggs and nuts as exposure can trigger an allergic reaction;
  • Ensure that chickens have access to feed and fresh water throughout the day, and that their water is clean;
  • Check on your flock daily to ensure they are all active and appear to be healthy. If you notice that your chickens do not appear to be bright and healthy, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible;
  • Gather eggs from chicken nesting boxes daily. When collecting eggs, keep in mind the importance of refrigerating them promptly and storing them with the pointy side down. This will help to maximise freshness;
  • After collecting eggs gently rub them under warm water to remove faeces or dirt; and
  • When refrigerated, eggs can be easily kept fresh for two to three weeks. Mark your eggs lightly with a pencil to remind you of the date they were collected.

References

http://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au accessed 10 May 2016

Added 2 May 2017


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