How Often to Wash Poultry Feeding Equipments

Washing poultry feeding troughs and drinkers is the first duty of every poultry farmer/attendant every morning. They must be washed every day before fresh feed and water is served. This should be done with detergents and rinsed thoroughly.

There are diseases birds can get through water of which the list of the diseases will be endless if we choose to name them. Therefore, good water hygiene must be maintained to ensure the water given to the birds does not become the source of their diseases. Go for water testing to be sure of good water source.

Importance of Maintaing a Good Sanitation in a Poultry House

Biosecurity is a term frequently used in the poultry industry. Many people believe that biosecurity is only implementing a strict visitor control and farm cleaning programme.

In reality, however, a comprehensive biosecurity programme goes beyond these and includes many other components. In any commercial poultry operation, flock health must be excellent in order to achieve maximum profitability.

Health status can often be directly correlated with the comprehensiveness of the biosecurity programme implemented in an operation. It should also be noted that competence of the immune system of birds is of critical importance.

Biosecurity is the efficient use of common sense hygiene procedures in preventing the adverse effects of a disease. It can be defined as “a set of management practices that, when followed, reduce the potential for the introduction or spread of disease agents onto and among sites”.

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In other words, biosecurity is an essential component of a disease control programme in the poultry industry.

Three terms are commonly used to describe microbial control:

* Sterilization – Destroying all infective and reproductive forms of all microorganisms (bacteria, fungi,
virus, and the like).
* Disinfection – Destroying all vegetative forms of microorganisms. Spores are not destroyed.
* Sanitation – Pathogenic organisms are present but are not a threat to the birds’ health.

Proper cleaning removes most germs and is always done before using disinfectants. This applies to all areas, including floors, walls, equipment, and personnel.

It is extremely important to remove as much organic matter as possible from surfaces being disinfected. After removing dust, chick down, droppings, tissue residues, and such, thoroughly clean surfaces, using warm water and appropriate cleaning aids.

Focus on selecting the proper detergent to produce the cleanest environment possible with variations in water hardness, salinity, and pH. A thorough rinsing with enough clean, sanitized water completes the cleaning process and removes most lingering residues of detergents, organic matter, or microbial germs.

The most important thing to remember when striving for a sanitized environment is that cleanliness is essential.

Read Also: Basics of Bio-Security in a Poultry Farm

In order to reduce SE and other health risks, a complete dry cleaning, washing and disinfection of the poultry house after each flock or at minimum once each year is recommended.

Successful cleaning is hard work and requires systematic completion of several sequential steps. Every step is important. Skipping one step or doing an incomplete job at any point will make the next step harder and lead to failure.

Poultry Feeding Equipments and Poultry House Sanitation Processes

Start by removing all birds from the building to be cleaned, along with all equipment that can be cleaned in another place, such as feeders and waterers.

How to Make Money as a Poultry Farmer... poultry feeding

Dry Cleaning

Sweep or blow dust and other loose dirt off ceilings, light fixtures, walls, cages or nest boxes, fans, air inlets etc. onto the floor. Remove all feed from feeders.

Scrape manure and accumulated dust and dirt from perches and roosts. Remove all litter from the floor.  Litter can be added to a compost pile. Sweep the floor to remove as much dry material as possible.

With a small coop, a wet-dry shop vacuum does a good job of removing this material. However, be careful to clean the filter often as the fine dust from the coop may easily clog the filter and make the vacuum work harder or lead to burn out of the motor.

Wet Cleaning

Turn the power off to the building prior to using any water for cleaning. Wet cleaning is done in three steps: soaking, washing and rinsing. Warm or hot water will do a better job getting through organic matter than cold water. You can use a cheap neutral detergent, like dish soap.


Soak the heavily soiled areas (perches and roosting areas, floors, etc.) thoroughly. Use a low pressure sprayer to totally soak all surfaces. Soak until the accumulated dirt and manure has softened to the point it is easily removed.


Wash every surface in the building, especially window sills, ceiling trusses, wall sills and any surface where dirt and dust may accumulate. The washing solution can be either a neutral detergent (ph between 6 and 8) or an alkaline detergent (ph above 8).

Alkaline substances vary in their strength with the strongest causing burns and internal injuries if swallowed. A mild alkali is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and moderate alkalis include household ammonia, borax and trisodium phosphate.

Strong alkalis include washing soda (sodium carbonate) and lye (caustic soda). Mix in hot water—160oF or hotter is best.

A high pressure sprayer is good for this step, but manual scrubbing with a moderately stiff brush is one of the best ways to insure a thorough cleaning. Inspect manually to be sure you have removed all of the dirt and manure from all surfaces.

Make sure you carefully clean electrical parts.  You may have to remove cover plates and vacuum those areas.

If you have metal surfaces with hard water scale, then you will need to use an acid detergent on those surfaces to remove the scale. Acid detergent involves acid as the major component which is used in dissolving mineral deposits (Calcium and Magnesium precipitates) or hard water deposits from equipment surfaces.

Two main groups of acid detergents are: inorganic (HCL, H2SO4), and organic (Vinegar, Citric Acid).


A final rinse immediately after washing is recommended to remove any harmful residues and to obtain a spotless building. Mop up puddles as they can rapidly become breeding grounds for salmonellae.


Thoroughly air-dry the building if disinfection cannot immediately follow rinsing. Open all windows and ventilation openings. Use a blower or fan if available. Cleaning on a dry, sunny day helps in the drying process.


Make any repairs to the structure prior to the final disinfection step. Seal any rodent entry holes at the outside and inside of the building. Apply a small amount of spray foam insulation into the hole, then pack in fine steel wool and top with more spray foam.


This is a crucial step which the small flock owner might normally overlook. Disinfectants should be applied only after the building and equipment have been thoroughly cleaned, ideally right after rinsing.

Disinfectants can be applied by sprays, aerosols or fumigation. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of “fumigating” your hen house: for most small flock facilities, using a garden type sprayer is the easiest method, and chances are you already have a suitable disinfectant around the house.

The types of disinfectants generally used are phenolic compounds (e.g., Pine-sol, One Stroke, Osyl),  iodine or iodophors, (e.g., Betadine and Weladol), chlorine compounds (e.g., Clorox, generic bleach), quaternary ammonium compound (e.g., Roccal D Plus) and oxidizing compounds (e.g., Virkon S, Oxy-Sept 333).

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Blogger - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: benadinenonye.

2 thoughts on “How Often to Wash Poultry Feeding Equipments

    • July 4, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Glad we could help Sir and Thanks for your feedback


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