I guess there's a few things you need to know about me before I get to my questions.
First of all, I've wanted chickens for several years but just never seemed to get around to doing the research & construction work to do it. As such, I'm an absolute chicken novice. The closest I've gotten to having chickens was the broilers & eggs I've bought at the store!
Secondly, well, I'm just gonna say it...I'm terribly frugal. Some say I'm just plain cheap. They could be right because I pinch pennies so hard that I make Lincoln cry. I absolutely hate spending money unnecessarily. Aside from my love of being as self-sufficient as I can, I can't STAND the current egg prices for runny, factory-farmed eggs, especially since I, by myself, go through at least 14 eggs per week!
That said, I've been looking at a few possible places to house the chicks I want to get in the Spring...most likely Buff Orpingtons. Even using the reclaimed lumber that I have, site #1 would require a fair investment in new building materials, would be shaded by my horse barn for 3/4 of the day in the wintertime and, abutting the rear of the horse barn, will be out of my sight & far from my 5 noisy dogs should predators decide to attempt a raid. It would, though, facilitate a dirt floor.
Site #2 is a 12' x 16' workshop/garden shed that is significantly closer to my home, which would, in theory, allow my 5 noisy dogs to make predators think twice before raiding the hen house but the dogs would NOT have access to the chickens or the coop. Since the building is already constructed, I would be using the reclaimed lumber that I have to construct a wire-screened partition that would make the chicken accommodations 12' wide x 10' deep & the remaining 12' x 6' would be for feed & garden tools. It's conceivable that the lumber that I have will do the complete job & the only expense would be for the wire screening. If I don't have enough lumber, I would have to purchase very little compared to the nearly completely new build on site #1. Unlike site #1, site #2 is free-standing & gets light/sunlight from dawn until dusk. I'm in extreme Southcentral Missouri & our summers are hot & very humid & the winters are generally relatively mild, with the exception of February which sees days in the 20's. The shed is built on a slight slope so the front entrance is at ground level & the back end where the chickens would be is elevated about 6"-8". This shed has a plywood floor.
I'm leaning towards site #2 since there is much less work needing done & much less expense required. I'm unsure about the wood floor, though. As long as a I bed them well, are there drawbacks or health concerns related to wood flooring? Is there anything that I should do to the floor to make it "better"? Will the wood floor need periodic disinfecting? I've seen some posts where people put down linoleum (I think). Is that for health purposes or just for ease of cleaning?
I have 10 oak trees & 2 Bradford Pear trees scattered throughout my yard & innumerable oaks, maples, sumac (not the poison kind, the tree kind), etc scattered throughout my pastures & around the perimeter of my 17 acres. I thought one way to keep expenses down would be to use the copious dry Fall leaves God blesses me with as bedding in the coop. Is this ok to do? Are there certain leaf varieties that I should *not* use?
TIA for any advice or wisdom you can give.