Chickshaw - from brooder to coop

dave m

In the Brooder
Oct 22, 2021
3
17
19
Hi there,
I was wondering the best way to transition RIR chicks from a brooder to the CS. If I throw pine chips on the floor for bedding it will fall through the 1" fencing. Straw kind of defeats the purpose of having the netting on the floor because then I have to occasionally clean it out.
Do I need bedding in a CS? I can never see any in the CS videos. Thanks for any help.
Dave
 

MadGardener

Chirping
Oct 7, 2021
38
185
79
SW Virginia, USA
I acquired a free flock and all their gear, including a very small homemade coop and a prefab. Both have 1/2 wire floors.. The small coop has been converted to a chickshaw style (wheels along the center, handles added). DH will be building a larger enclosure soon.

I can't answer your chick question. But I can pass along one of the things I'd do differently.

A wire floor will allow some droppings through. Not all. I go at the piles with an old metal dustpan and scrub brush. This job sucks. It's made worse by especially fibrous poops, dropped feathers, and nesting material. And the framing underneath is impossible to clean sufficiently without tipping the coop over. Mmmm, poop stalactites.

The plan for the new build is to lay sheet vinyl over hardware cloth. It would be much lighter than plywood, would offer easier compost gathering, and easier cleaning.

Something solid, but light, laid over your entire floor may be an option. Or a portion of the floor, with a lip to keep bedding in.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,223
17,330
706
USA
I was wondering the best way to transition RIR chicks from a brooder to the CS. If I throw pine chips on the floor for bedding it will fall through the 1" fencing. Straw kind of defeats the purpose of having the netting on the floor because then I have to occasionally clean it out.
Do I need bedding in a CS? I can never see any in the CS videos. Thanks for any help.
It's not good for chickens' feet to stand on a wire floor for long stretches of time, but you are right that bedding on a wire floor does not make sense.

I assume you intend the chickens to be out free ranging all day, and only use the chicksaw for sleeping and nests. But you probably want to keep the chicks shut in all day and night for the first few days, so they learn where to sleep.

You could either leave the wire floor bare, and figure that a few days shut up on wire is no big deal.

Or you could cover the wire floor with something, maybe large pieces of cardboard or a sheet of plywood. That would let you have a solid floor with bedding now, and you could remove it after the chicks are free-ranging by day and reliably coming back to sleep at night.

Speaking from experience, you do not want a mess of straw and wire glued together with any kind of animal droppings!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,078
22,814
907
Southeast Louisiana
Do I need bedding in a CS?
My brooder floor is 1/2" hardware cloth. You might be able to see it in this.
Waterer in Brooder.JPG


As you can see, the floor in my grow-out coop is also 1/2" hardware cloth.
Grow out Water.JPG


The poop falls through until the chicks get maybe 12 to 14 weeks old, then the poop starts to build up. It gets too bit for the 1/2" holes. I have no experience with using 1" holes so not sure if those will ever clog up or not with adults.

If I'm keeping chicks in that brooder in winter where it gets cold, like below freezing, I put a piece of plywood on the brooder floor to keep the wind from hitting them underneath where the heat is and block off under that brooder so a breeze can't blow on them. Like this.
Brooder.JPG


In the grow-out coop I just block off underneath with scrap aluminum to block wind, nothing on the wire. This is for winter. In summer it's a lot more open.
Growout.JPG


I figure pictures makes it a lot easier to understand what I'm talking about. As long as the weather is suitable I don't see the problem with the bottom being wire as far as the chicken's health.

I don't use bedding in ether of mine. There are no nests since they are not laying. I could see bedding being a problem.

One word of caution. Some, not all but some, wire mesh may have sharp spikes on it. That could come form the wire mesh manufacturing or from the galvanizing if it is hot dip galvanized. If they walk on those spikes it can tear their feet up. Due to the manufacturing process all those spikes (if they are any) should all be on the same side. So carefully rub your hand over the side that is up and see if you need to do any rearranging. If they point down it's not a big deal. They are not walking on them.
 

HomesteadNowhere

Songster
Dec 2, 2020
178
274
128
Ohio USA
A chickshaw is designed to have a 1inch wire floor with wood for roosting and structure. They roost on the wood cross boards and the poop will fall through. An almost no cleaning needed and mobile coop. I say almost because if they kick out the nesting material it will collect poo and need removed. Other than that it shouldn't need anything cleaned.
Justin rhodes videos explain it pretty well.

My chickens seem pretty happy with mine. I altered it slightly so that the back opens and I can easily access from the whole back. And lucky too because some of my pullets are still figuring it out and lay on the floor under the nests. I have been keeping a cheap butterfly net on the roof to scoop up an egg from the middle if needed. I also put 5 permanent nests instead of the 3 milk crates.
I don't have better pics at the moment but can get some.

 

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