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Coop and run ON the deck?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello. I have a question that I can't seem to find an answer for, but first a little background info.  I live on an island in SE Alaska that has more brown bears than people.  They, the bears, have been known to occasionally go after chickens.  It's also VERY wet here, over 9 feet of rain a year.  I currently have 6 chicks in a brooder.  I could put them in the back of the house where the old coop was OR I could put the coop and run on one of the decks in the front of the house.  The back of the house is undeveloped and hilly.  The deck that they would go on is wood and was used as a dog kennel by the previous owners.  It has a 5' hog wire fence inside of the wooden railing which has been added on to and is about 6' high.  The deck is 8x10' and would be covered.  I have visions of allowing them access to underneath the deck at some point, maybe.  My questions are: Would the chickens be okay with only a small dirt pen under the coop and only having a wooden run?  Would walking around exclusively on the decking hurt their legs or feet?  I don't think I could put down much litter with the deck boards being about 1/4" apart.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

post #2 of 3
I have seen people keep chickens on porches before, although usually it is a few bantams. Is the deck attached to your house? Remember that chickens are very dusty and can be loud, and if you don't manage the coop well, smelly. Having them so close may not appeal to you then.
Bare decking would not make a good run. It would not hurt the chickens feet, but it would be messy and smelly with no dirt or leaves for the poop to mix into. Hay on top of the wood wouldn't be so bad, especialy if you randomly place stumps and perches here and there for them to hop up onto. I don't honestly know if it would work though. Pictures would help us to come up with better suggestions.

"With a good set of power tools, some glue and some nails, all things are possible." Me

 

Dragons are a lot like cats. They sleep with one eye open, tail a-twitch, and will rain fiery death down upon you should you disturb them.

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"With a good set of power tools, some glue and some nails, all things are possible." Me

 

Dragons are a lot like cats. They sleep with one eye open, tail a-twitch, and will rain fiery death down upon you should you disturb them.

Reply
post #3 of 3
I see why you might want to try this, but a couple of concerns occur to me.

1. They really need to be able to scratch and find things in the dirt. I am not sure that spending most of their time on decking, even if it had some hay or straw on it, would be healthy. In fact, I believe scratching in dirt is the main way they keep their talons from getting too long.

2. Unless the area under your deck is very accessible to you, I am not sure that would be a good option for their free range and digging area, because you will definitely find yourself wanting to clean up after them pretty frequently. Esp if the poop can't ever dry out because it's shaded from the sun by the deck floor -- it will get very messy and smelly. So unless you can easily walk around under there to clean, not stooping, you might not be happy with how that space ends up looking and smelling.

3. I am pretty sure my coop weighs a few hundred pounds even though it's not that big. I don't know if a deck can hold something that heavy up.

I am totally not an expert, though, and others should feel free to disagree.
Edited by Ballerina Bird - 3/6/16 at 10:10pm
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