Clean Out Checklist for Poultry Farmers

Here is a checklist for cleaning poultry houses between flocks, even if you hire out the job.
Clean Out Checklist

At Poultry Biosecurity, our goal is to help you be a more productive grower through products and education. So in this blog, we're focusing on a tedious topic and giving you an actionable way to manage it.

As Peter Drucker said, "What gets measured gets managed." So let's manage your poultry house clean out process with a simple checklist. 


Download the Checklist

Pre-Clean Out

Confirm Your Schedule

Be sure to find out when your placement is ahead of time. Often placement is earlier than you expect, so plan ahead. If you're hiring a crew, schedule them in advance too. 


Establish a Backup Plan

Consider securing a backup clean out crew in case of unforeseen circumstances.


Prepare Your Equipment & House

Make sure equipment is out of the way before clean out begins. Ensure no wires, hoses or other hazards are hanging, which would pose a risk to the crew.


Gather Your Tools

Check to see if all necessary equipment is readily available.


Scrape Gravel

Remove gravel from areas near entrances to prevent mixing with litter during removal. Be prepared for spillage of litter!


Inspect the House

Thoroughly walk the house to identify and remove any remaining trash, dead birds, clothes or debris left by the crew.


Prepare for Litter Management

Make sure you know where the litter is going. Is it heading to a field, a shed or a customer? If money is involved for the litter exchange, clarify the payment terms and ensure the crew has the necessary documentation before they begin.


Verify Insurance

Confirm the clean out crew carries adequate insurance for potential damages. You wouldn't want an electrician working on your property without insurance, would you? The same should go for your clean out crew!


Clean Out Process

Manage Your Pad

Make sure that you or the crew is taking out litter and not part of the pad. Divots can become holes and next thing you know, you're shaving your pad. So be careful when removing litter!


Protect Wall Integrity

In-walls and side-walls are hard to get to when clearing litter. Remember that if you don't hit a block with your bucket, it doesn't mean that you won't hit a block out. Even hitting the hard pan just right can knock a block out.


Ensure Availability of Shavings

Make sure you have plenty of dry shavings on-site and ready. At the very least, have some litter prepped.


Post-Clean Out

Inspect the House

Walk the house with the crew after clean out to identify any damages and address them promptly.


Take Photos if There are Damages

Capture images of any damage or issues for reference.


Address Problems Promptly

Don't delay repairs or maintenance before introducing new chicks. It will be much easier to deal with any issues before you have birds.


Spread the Gravel Back Out

That way, you'll be ready for new bedding, shavings or reused litter!


We know that every house is different, but following these general guidelines can help you have a successful and safe clean out.

Download the Checklist

Contact Us

If you have any questions or comments, reach out to me at To stay up to date on our content made just for poultry growers, subscribe to our Poultry Biosecurity YouTube channel.

About the Author

Allen Reynolds

Allen Reynolds

Poultry Sales Manager

This was written by Allen Reynolds, Southland Organics’ Poultry Sales Manager. Allen spent years working on poultry farms, from installing equipment to dumping chicks. He has been helping poultry farmers overcome obstacles since 2014, focusing on poultry farm strength in the antibiotic-free environment since 2017. He has traveled thousands of miles and worked closely with hundreds of farmers during his time with Southland Organics. Allen is known by even more farmers from the YouTube channel Poultry Biosecurity, where he regularly appears in videos that educate farmers on topics like bird health and farm business.

Learn more about Allen Reynolds

Isabella (Izy) Dobbins

Marketing Manager

This was edited by Isabella (Izy) Dobbins, Southland Organics' Marketing Manager. Izy has devoted her education and career to communicating science-related topics. With an enthusiasm for sharing accurate and honest content relating to science and agriculture, she ensures Southland Organics' publications are as informative as they are interesting. Izy graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in advertising, minors in both Spanish and environmental health science and a Certificate in Sustainability. She has been working at Southland Organics since 2021.

Learn more about Izy Dobbins

Izy Dobbins
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