Another concrete question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jhough, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. jhough

    jhough New Egg

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    Aug 29, 2011
    OK, so our family is looking into getting chickens for the first time. We have some old pig/dog pens that are all concrete. Part of the pen is inside of a cinder block building and the other part is outside. We are looking to enlarge the outside pen so that it goes out onto grass/dirt so that they can scratch. The concrete part of the pen is sloped and feeds into a drain for cleaning. The drain pipe is quite long and would clog easily so we don't want to put any shavings, sand, etc on the concrete floor. I saw where some people were saying that the shavings help for when the chickens get down from a nest box or roosting place. What about instead of putting shavings down we put down a rubber mat near the nesting boxes? They shouldn't need the shaving on the concrete to scratch in because part of the pen will be on grass/dirt. Does this sound workable? The concrete part of the pen would be about 6' by 12'. The dirt part can be quite bigger. Also, would we need to cover the pen? The outside part of the pen would be 6' tall.

    Thanks for any replies I get. We are excited about learning what to do.

    By the way, we live in central Louisiana so we deal with a lot of heat in the summer but now much cold.
     
  2. chi-rn

    chi-rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2011
    I think you're lucky! Cement floors generally make great predator-proof floors & are easy to keep clean. If the slope isn't too steep, the chickens probably won't have a difficult time maneuvering the incline. You can always rig a wooden "ladder" attached with cement screws to assist, if necessary. I'd give them as big a run as possible.... it won't take them long to clean it up! No matter how high the fence, you'll need some type of cover to protect from birds of prey. Also, keep in mind that racoons can scale a 6-foot fence easily... & they are a mortal enemy of chickens! If the enclosed spaces were used by dogs/pigs in the past, you'll want to do some serious scrubbing perhaps with a water/bleach solution & then let them air out for several days. Make sure there's ventilation... this can't be overemphasized, but secure the ventilation openings with welded wire. Also, make sure the "coops" can be secured at night. One final thought... chickens like to roost as high as possible- it's an instinctive thing in attempt to sleep away from predators. Make sure these enclosures allow for raised roosting bars, also room for nesting boxes! Good luck!
     
  3. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi Jessica,

    Welcome to BYC forum--- You have so much fun ahead of you getting into chickens. It is so interesting.

    Our climate is probably a lot like yours--- The reason for a cover on the outside part of the pen is to help keep the chickens cool. If your outside is in shade that makes it a little different. chickens are very susceptable to heat. When a chicken gets too hot, her production goes down. She has no sweat glands like humans so can only pant and hold her wings out to try to cool herself off. This panting can change the electrolytes in her body. If the chicken's body temperature gets to 104 mortality can result. If you go to my BYC page and click on the one that is charts & graphs there is a chart there that shows the effect of ambient temps on chickens and a link to an excellent article on the internet about chickens and heat. Because we humans sweat we expell heat pretty quickly and we can always duck in the shade, chickens in pens---not so lucky.

    It sounds like you have a good beginning and some good ideas for your coop---I'm not sure about the flooring. My coop arrangement is moveable like a chicken tractor, but years ago, my husband's mother raised hundereds of chickens in a metal building that had a cement floor. They used a sort of 'deep litter' method, so I am told, and once per year, cleaned out the stray from the cement floor and tilled it into the garden in the spring. I think that because chickens are poop experts, you would want some kind of litter on the floor to absorb odor and moisture. Perhaps you could block off the drain. I know that if you revisit thes question in the coop building part you will get lots of good ideas from byc members.
     

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