Can I use half-inch Hardware cloth for floor of henhouse in tractor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pdxchickenlover, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. pdxchickenlover

    pdxchickenlover New Egg

    Jan 31, 2011
    Sorry, I have a ton of questions about this. I'm building my first chicken tractor and I've read that some folks use some sort of wire mesh for the flooring under the roosts. Can I use some of the hardware cloth I was planning to use to enclose my run? Will it get too cold in the winter (Portland, OR) with a open floor like that? Will I still need some sort of vents at the top of the house too?

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Poo will not go through 1/2" mesh. Thus it would be somewhat pointless, unless you have a hose that you will be able to hose the poo thru every day or few days AND don't mind the resulting pooey swampy spots all over your yard.

    If you wanted something poo can fall thru, you need to go more to a 1x1 mesh; but this is harder for the chickens to walk on, and harder on their feet.

    ANY kind of mesh probably ought to be covered with something solid during your winter months (I am assuming Portland gets close to and below freezing on a fairly regular basis?) and it will make wintertime ventilation difficult.

    Honestly, IMHO it offers ZERO benefits (except *possibly* in some very-hot-climate situations) and a large number of downsides, and I would suggest forgetting about it. A solid floor with a bit of shavings on it will be easier to clean, better for the chickens to walk on, and warmer and less drafty in winter.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

  3. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    We have a number of chicken tractors and we have no floor at all. We are in South Carolina where it really is pretty mild most of the winter... we got down to 10 a couple of times this winter... Our tractors have no floor at all as we want every bit of poop on the ground where it can benefit the land, also a lot less work. Even cleaning daily would not keep 1/2 " mesh clean - big headaches ahead there. If you want a section of the tractor closed off then I would also go with a solid floor with a nice thick layer of shavings. The shavings mixed with lots of poop are excellent for fertilization, compost etc. I would do some ventilation up at the top too as it gets very moist very fast with all that moist chicken poop.
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I have kept some bantams overnight in our house in a large birdcage with the typical wire floor (1/2" by 6" spacing). Even little bitty bantam droppings stick on the wire. In the coop, I find it much easier to use plastic boot trays under the roost and dump them out into our composter every morning than scrubbing poo off wire grates.
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:In a mild climate like Oregon, I would reconsider a wire floor. Unless you are plagued with digging predators - don't discount the family dog - it really isn't needed. Even then, a "skirt" of mesh around the tractor should do the job against them.
    Keep them on the ground, where they can scratch and get at the soil. That is the main point behind the tractor, after all. If you find later that you want a wire floor, you can add it.
  6. pdxchickenlover

    pdxchickenlover New Egg

    Jan 31, 2011
    Thanks, everyone. Very helpful and I think I'll just scratch the idea of wire floor now. [​IMG] Thanks again!
  7. country lady

    country lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    NW Tennessee
    We used welded mesh on the floor of our tractor and it worked just fine. I forget the size but we hosed it out in the summer. A power wash really does a nice job. We also covered the mesh with a rubber mat in the winter, material that roofers left from our porch. That, along with straw, kept the coop clean and warm during the winter. In the coldest weather, the poop is frozen anyway and can be scooped out easily.
  8. Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 30, 2009
    Burnet, Texas
    On a tractor all you really might need is a 2x4 mesh on the bottom. This will allow them to still scratch the ground but not tear your yard up as much as they can with a full open bottom. If you have an elevated house portion I would stick with the 1/2" mesh floor. A wire brush is all you need to clean it out. They need the smaller mesh to walk on. A solid floor works good as well but it does have to have shavings down and needs to be cleaned regularly. On the really cold days I line my wire floor with cardboard and shavings for more insulation.

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