Chicken housing in North Carolina

Mar 4, 2020
Hello! We are building a new flock in Raleigh NC. We have a good size coop and a HUGE outdoor run with a roof over the top and very secure on all sides with hardware cloth. We only have 3 chickens right now, maximum we'll probably every have is 10 (all hens). I am wondering a couple of things about the coop+run setup since we'll be moving them into the outdoor space this weekend.

Feeder: Should the feeder be kept inside the coop itself, or in the run? I am leaning towards in the coop, but since our run is going to be pretty strong to predators etc I didn't know if I should just get a hanging feeder to put in the run?

Waterer: We will keep this in the run to help the coop stay dry. I am leaning towards one where they press the button and it comes into the little cups.

In the coop: likely going to try the deep litter method. Those who use this method, this may be a stupid question but do you have anything in there to "catch" the poop to re-purpose into compost/fertilizer for vegetable gardends? I haven't done a ton of research into this yet, but am interested if there is a way to.

Dust bath: should I go ahead and designate a space in the run, or just let them "choose" their space? It seems they'll make it where they want to, but didn't know if there was a best practice.

Thanks in advance for any direction. I have read a ton of information around the site, but some of the posts are a little older that I was reading so just want to be sure to get the best/newest info out there from all you pros!

Thank you!


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 10, 2009
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Hello from the Sandhills! :frow

Number one in our steamy climate is ventilation, ventilation, ventilation. We build our little, in-town coop with a monitor roof and it was never any hotter inside than it was out. Here's my thread for the repair now that we've moved to country property:

We had a hardened run that was roofed on the end farther from the coop and kept both the food and the water there. It encouraged the chickens to spread out and not just hang out inside. I never closed the pop door and let the chickens get up and go to roost on their own.

Because this is the Sandhills I didn't need to do anything about dust. They dug their own dust baths in the run.

There is a difference between deep litter and deep bedding. Inside, where it stays dry, I used deep bedding in the coop -- starting with 4-6" of shavings and adding to it occasionally as needed for 2, 3, or even 4 months before cleaning it out to compost.

I used deep litter in the run, where it was in contact with the dirt and would get wet in the rain due to the unroofed section. Deep litter is a form of cold composting where you use a mix of materials: wood chips, wood shavings, pine straw, straw, fall leaves, dried lawn clippings, or whatever "compost brown" comes to hand to absorb and neutralize the chicken poop. The mixed textures and materials minimizes matting (a problem with straw alone), and provides good aeration.

You just keep adding dry material when the run seems to need it until either the pile gets inconveniently high or you need compost for your garden. But what makes it work is the moisture and the ground contact. Raking up old leaves or pine straw inoculates the mix with the composting organisms (and provides the chickens with delicious bugs -- they LOVE a fresh pile of leaves or pine straw).

Over time you end up with an odor-free, well-drained pile of imitation forest floor with chickens on top. :)

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