As the weather warms up, our coop can start to smell, shall I say, less than appealing. While this homemade coop refresh spray should NEVER be used as an alternative to keeping a clean coop, after removing all the soiled bedding and replacing it with new bedding, scraping down the roosts and refreshing the nesting boxes, this all natural scented spray will leave your coop smelling wonderful.
I created my own recipe for a pleasant smelling spray that could be used in between and after cleanings to keep our coop not only smelling nice but also help repel rodents, insects and calm our laying hens naturally. I love that I am not using anything that could harm our chickens and also provide aromatherapeutic benefits to them.
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh lavender leaves and flowers
Bottle of white vinegar (feel free to substitute vodka - yes vodka!)
Vanilla bean, split and cut in half
Two canning jars
Divide the herbs between the two canning jars, crushing them with your fingers as you add each sprig to release the oils. Drop half a vanilla bean into each jar, then add white vinegar (or vodka) to completely cover, leaving at least 1/4" headroom in each jar.
Screw the lids on securely and then set the jars in your pantry, in a cupboard or on the kitchen counter to 'age' for 3-4 weeks. Shake the jars every few days to reinvigorate the contents. The mixture should start to turn a greenish-brown color and smell fragrant.
When the vinegar smell has mostly dissipated, the spray is ready to use. Strain the contents and then pour into a spray bottle to use full strength - or slightly dilute with a bit of water if desired. Spray in your coop as needed.
~About the ingredients~
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant. It has antibacterial properties, kills mold and is also an ant repellent. (Apple cider vinegar, while great for adding to your chickens water and drinking yourself for all its health benefits, shouldn't be used here - only white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will attract fruit flies.)
Note: You can substitute vodka for the white vinegar. Vodka is an all natural cleaning agent that kills insects instead of merely repelling them. It is also antibacterial and kills mold and mildew, and is odorless.
Lavender is a naturally calming stress reliever, increases blood circulation, is highly aromatic, and also an insecticide. The aroma is highly beneficial to settle laying or sitting hens.
Mint is a natural rodent repellent.
Vanilla is a natural fly and mosquito repellent.
I started using vodka (buying the largest, cheapest bottle I could find at the liquor store) and much prefer it to the vinegar because the vodka is odorless. In fact, the spray smells so nice that I use it in our home as well as the coop.
Note: As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this spray is NOT a substitute for regular cleaning of your coop and at the slightest whiff of ammonia, all soiled coop bedding should be removed and replaced with fresh bedding.
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