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!