As mentioned in other posts, Jason and I only have three chickens and the mess they make of the yard as they forage around is absorbed mostly by the yard. If you are in a city with larger lots, or out in the country where you can have more chickens, it makes more sense to get organized about coop cleaning in order to mine for the gold.
Chicken poop, when properly composted, makes awesome fertilizer. This blogger at Basic Living has a much larger operation and thus does her Herculean chicken shoveling task once a spring, but then is making amazing garden compost from it the rest of the time. The closest we get to her method is during the winter, where we park the coop under our deck to protect from snow, and put wood shavings down. When Jason rakes that area, he dumps it into one of our many green cones to compost. (We have a green cone now that’s just sitting and “baking” down all the winter dumpings).
More on the once a year method aka “Coop Poop Boogie” and the Seattle Tilth resource on composting chicken poop .
The City of Seattle puts out a great overall composting guide (PDF) here and some general tips here. Seattle Tilth goes all out with plans for different kinds of bins, charts, and ingredient lists – making good compost is a work of art as well as decomposition, and they have the Master Composter classes to prove it. See their compost page.
The City of Seattle offers green cones and yard composting cylinders at discounted rates to residents. For those readers not in the area, I’m purposefully not recommending a vendor because I see many – and for way more than we pay in Seattle. You may want to shop around online before committing to a purchase, or, follow the Tilth instructions to do a larger capacity compost setup.