Advice needed: foundation for coop/run combo (photo included)

BougieChicken

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Jul 12, 2021
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Hi there! This site is so helpful at providing information. But there is also conflicting advice - probably because some questions/responses are based on personal preference 🙂

We have a current coop that’s very small and it’s on an uneven concrete slab that was already existing in our yard. We have drainage issues that’s resulted in a very muddy stinky run it has also invited unwanted guest into the coop such as flies and maggots etc.

we have a coop on the way, it should be delivered in October. So we have an opportunity to completely start fresh with a new foundation. My question and where I need advice is: do we place the coop on a concrete slab or do we just place it on the ground?

i’d love to hear feedback from anyone who’s willing to provide it on why concrete would be helpful why the ground would be helpful what you think is the best decision here.

We live near Athens Georgia and the ground has a good bit of Georgia clay. My top concerns are drainage/wet run area and cleaning. I liked the idea of sweeping (raking) the poop out every day (or often) to prevent smell and hopefully manage flies.

here is our exact coop:
8978DB88-DFAD-439A-8E6C-4C5958B38EE6.jpeg
E70786C9-D88A-4878-A0EF-86431CAC7159.jpeg

Thank you in advance for any help here!

Revised to add: the concrete would be the base - I would add a mix of dirt and shavings to the run. The chickens wouldn’t be on the bare concrete.
 
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BougieChicken

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2021
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I’m worried the ground would hold onto the smell and attract flies but I’m not sure of the best approach with a concrete slab to make it work ☹️
 

DobieLover

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I would put it on level ground and add wood chips for run litter. It appears as if the coop base framing is pressure treated wood, hopefully rated for ground contact.
I would then install a 2' wide predator apron around the entire base.
ETA: I'm not a fan of birds being kept on concrete or wire. They love to scratch and dust bathe in soil. During hot weather, my flock digs holes at the perimeter of my run where the soil gets wet from rain. They like to wallow on the cool earth. They also dust bathe in the wood chips as they break down a mix with the soil.
 
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DobieLover

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I’m worried the ground would hold onto the smell and attract flies but I’m not sure of the best approach with a concrete slab to make it work ☹️
Concrete absorbs odors and offers no scratching opportunity to the birds.
Wood chips drain well and slowly decompose with the poop. In the 2+ years I've had my current setup, I've never removed anything from the run but the flock does spend most of their days in their pen.
 

3KillerBs

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I agree with @DobieLover.

I'd put it on level ground, on a spot with good drainage -- where water does not run through or pool in it. Dig diversion ditches or install French drain if necessary.

I'm a great fan of deep litter in the run. That is, a cold composting system that neutralizes the manure.

Chickens are naturally creatures of the forest floor. They're at home on a substrate that mimics the forest floor. In your area you should have ready access to my personal favorite run litter -- Pine Straw!

The great thing I find with pine straw is that it never packs and mats and always dries out on top quickly, even after tropical storms.

BTW, I am concerned that your coop-to-be has severely inadequate ventilation, especially for a coop located in the Steamy Southeast where, unless we can place the coop in DEEP natural shade, we should usually exceed the 1 square foot per adult standard-sized hen by a generous margin so that our coops don't turn into ovens. :)

Maybe there's ventilation not showing in the photos?
 

BougieChicken

In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2021
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Thanks everyone for the responses! I should have been more clear in my post. The concrete would just be the base - there would be dirt or shavings added on top of that for scratching and such!

updating the post now - I’m still looking to read more pros/cons of both options for foundation of the coop and any of your experiences!

For those of you with dirt foundation, does it help to have the concrete block footers or frame buried in the ground to prevent water from seeping in the coop?
 

SimTam

In the Brooder
Jul 27, 2021
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Vic, Australia
Is having a raised bed for the whole coop / run an option? IE box in the whole base 2ft or so and fill it with good soil

It will give you...
deep litter options
no need for concrete
Good drainage options
Better preditor protection
 

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