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Brand New Coop, need base suggestions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We are building a new coop, or as my hubby calls it, a Chicken Palace :) It is 12' x14', 10' high in front, 8' in the back. I'll have two 3' door on the front on top rollers for a 6' opening. There a side door, reclaimed old farm top screen door which I'll partly cover in the winter. Opposite the door is a sliding window. I have a dirt floor right now as we can't quite afford the concrete this year. I really need suggestions about what to put down inside the coop on the floor. I just read about sweet PDZ, and think that's a great idea under the roosts. My current 18x25' chicken yard has been a mixture of straw and hay and pine shavings. it sits about 15' from the new "coop", and the two will be connected with wire (I'm using 2x2' wrapped wire fencing; we have dogs not far away, and haven't had any issues with wildlife, also a sulfur light behind the area). The wire fence will also extend in front of the coop for about 20 feet, then back over to the other yard.

So, my questions:

1. Flooring - hay, straw, contractors sand, screenings? (Neighbor helping us build it suggested screenings from the local quarry.)

2. How high should I place the roosts? I have 10 adult full size chickens, 3 bantams, and 26 rapidly growing chicks!

3. Are the PVC gravity feeders really any good?

4. A friend gave me an older double level (5 on top, 5 below) galvanized nesting "box". It has a bit of rust on it - can I paint it with exterior paint?

So many more questions but this is a good start!

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

 

 

 

post #2 of 5

On the floor I prefer pine shavings. I've used many things over the years, hay, straw, sand, leaves and I keep coming back to pine shavings.  

 As far as screening are concerned what I am familiar with as it relates to screenings are lime screenings and I would be concerned about bumble foot.  If you were to pick up lime screening and squeeze it wouldn't feel good so I wouldn't want my hens walking on it.

 

Roosts, I've always gone with the ladder style and I've always started the bottom roost at about 30 inches off the floor.  With the exception of silkies I haven't met a chicken yet that can't jump that high.  chickens never roost on the bottom rungs anyway and when cleaning time comes the bottom rung is just in the way.

 

At 30 inches some may say it is too high for heavy breeds and they might get bumble foot jumping from 30 inches.  I disagree.  My cases of bumble foot are between slim and none and I've had my set up for over 20 years.    Besides my top roost is probably 5 feet from the floor and my heavy girls launch themselves from there anyway in the morning instead of hopping down to the lowest rung and then jumping down. :P

 

I have no experience with PVC feeders.

 

I see no reason you can't paint the nest boxes.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter147 View Post

On the floor I prefer pine shavings. I've used many things over the years, hay, straw, sand, leaves and I keep coming back to pine shavings.  
 As far as screening are concerned what I am familiar with as it relates to screenings are lime screenings and I would be concerned about bumble foot.  If you were to pick up lime screening and squeeze it wouldn't feel good so I wouldn't want my hens walking on it.

Roosts, I've always gone with the ladder style and I've always started the bottom roost at about 30 inches off the floor.  With the exception of silkies I haven't met a chicken yet that can't jump that high.  chickens never roost on the bottom rungs anyway and when cleaning time comes the bottom rung is just in the way.

At 30 inches some may say it is too high for heavy breeds and they might get bumble foot jumping from 30 inches.  I disagree.  My cases of bumble foot are between slim and none and I've had my set up for over 20 years.    Besides my top roost is probably 5 feet from the floor and my heavy girls launch themselves from there anyway in the morning instead of hopping down to the lowest rung and then jumping down. tongue.png

I have no experience with PVC feeders.

I see no reason you can't paint the nest boxes.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SerendipityMama View Post


When you say ladder style, how wide is it? With 36 chickens and 3 bantams...? Do you have a picture? Thanks for your help!
post #5 of 5

That looks like a beautiful coop in progress!!  We built a coop in our barn--it's big.  Still contemplating the floor and am leaning towards river sand.  Here's my question.  In the brooder I have soil--mixed in with some shavings.  There is nothing to clean every day--nothing.  The poop dissipates!  I stir things up a little with a cat litter box scoop--and there's nothing to scoop.  No smell.  So...this observation leads me to wonder why I wouldn't put some soil on my coop floor--mixed in with the sand/shavings--whatever.  It sure is working in the brooder.

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