As far as coops are concerned, I agree with Ashburnam.
Concrete ( or very close fitted bricks ) and deep litter allowed to increase.
The beauty of this is, ( apart from not having to laboriously clean everything out almost every day ) .... is it is very close to nature at its best. Microbes instal themselves into the woopsies, and break it down - consuming unhealthy bacteria in the poop, and leaving healthy bacteria there. They have help from the chooks who stamp down the litter - mixed with wood shavings, which I top up once every week or so.
Here is a copy and paste from a site re. deep litter : http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.com.au/p/deep-litter-method.html
" by not removing the waste, good microbes come and make their homes in the litter.
These microbes actually eat and break down the feces and consume unhealthy bacteria,
leaving good bacteria behind! The microbes also help prevent infestations of lice and mites in your flock.
(They won't clean off a bird already infested - use wood ash on infested birds - but can help prevent new infestations from occurring.) "
I swear by the method myself. There are many many sites devoted to this method, but a lot of those refer to pasture for cattle etc., and the pros and cons of that. Also water consumption - that being water used ( as run off ) from deep litter concentration in the soil. But that is not going to bother too many people here - and would not apply.
The entrances to both my coops are the same for the birds as for me - which is ( during the day ) an open door, not exactly human height friendly. And early-ish evenings, those doors are closed and bolted shut. The doors have fine bird wire ( not chicken wire ) on their doors - with plenty of ventilation, plus some small tarps over parts of the doors to stop rain and wind. The little tarps are attached with clothing pegs to the wire - so easy. ( yeah - I know - it is all very early 1900's stuff ). The doors are large.
My big girls have a roosting cross pole - but prefer to cuddle up in what was once made to be a nesting box !!! They still rarely roost, while little Mindy Araucana would NEVER go to bed without roosting ( on a half brick covered in soft towelling on top of an old half open credenza which for a while also acted as a nesting box ). She gave that away when I sprinkled Pestene in there with new straw ( I think I overdid the Pestene ) -
" You can shove that garbage Mum " and she forever after laid ( or dropped ) her eggs onto the thick wood shavings on her concrete brick flooring. She stopped dropping eggs, when I cleaned here dear little fluffy butt ( I so love those fluffy butts too ) .... and clipped some feathers, so's she wouldn't get eggs stuck on them - to fall off and break, when she walked. That cured the problem of broken eggs ( which worried me for a time, with some chatter from me on here, about it all ). Apart from a couple of balloon soft shells, she was dropping eggs - they were not soft shelled at all. ( someone here told of her chicken dragging an egg behind her across the garden - so eggs getting stuck in woopsies does happen ).
Anyway, as usual, I have rambled on waaaay too long, but this was mainly for the people considering coops etc., and for newcomers here to this great site thread.
Cheers all - have a wonderful weekend ........
Edited by Anniebee - 4/1/16 at 5:21am