Coop floor question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by walkswithdog, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    Hi. Help. I've been cleaning out the old shed thing where we planned the coop. Yay! Got it all cleaned out of 15 years of neglect, stripped it to the structural wood - the rest was AWFUL. Only to find what I had long suspected. It was at one point used as a hog shed.

    Once I had it cleaned out I started raking the accumulated stuff of years, only to find in a very short while that I could smell ammonia. It's been at least 10 and probably 15 years since there were pigs in that thing. If I can smell ammonia then it's NOT good for chickens!

    Options? Lime? Lime then sand? I really need to use this existing structure, for one thing it's almost always in shade during the summer. It has power and water (attached to pump house).

    It's cinder block to the roof on one wall and half way on three walls, making it very draft proof (and why there's still ammonia probably).

    Help, thoughts, options? Thanks, WWD
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Are you *positive* it is ammonia, because some kinds of mold can smell (to my nose anyhow) quite similar when in high concentrations and the structure you describe is a veritable recipe for mold.

    With one full cinderblock wall and 3 half-walls, dampness is going to be a major problem in some parts of the year (because of condensation - the cinderblock is a large thermal mass and will stay cool and condense moisture out of all the ventilation air that comes into the structure). Honestly, if it were me and I just had to keep chickens in there, I'd put a vapor barrier and plywood over all or most of the cinderblock.

    I'd scatter half a bag or so [​IMG] of Sweet PDZ or similar product on the floor, and scratch it in with a rake, and see how the thing smelled in a week.

    If it's still a problem, you could remove the top foot or so of dirt and bring in a slightly larger amount (to allow for settling) of roadbase or sand. Or, you could till in some lime, then top with sand and well-laid large pavers or (best of all if you could afford 'em) rubber horse-stall mats.

    Good luck and have, er, 'fun' [​IMG],

  3. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    It certainly could be mold. I was planning on sealing the cinder block and covering some of it [​IMG] I'm also insulating the "insides" of the blocks with foam insulation, which will help with temperatures and condensation. It's lovely cool in summer, yet gets winter sun. The other half of the building is my pump house, but it also contains my freezer, which keeps the building temp somewhat moremoderate.

    I'm planning on the wall toward the winter sun being at least half window (double glass).

    Pavers may be my ticket after sweet pdz, which I've seen on other threads. Hope the Co-Op has it. We get a lot of rain and though it's on high ground it's still inside our small valley bowl.

    I appreciate the help. WWD
  4. denahli

    denahli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    I agree, if you have FOR SURE determined that its contaminated soil then I would remove at least the top1- 1 1/2' of soil and replace with crushed rock/stone dust.

    Yuck, I was raised with hogs man they do stink,,,,,
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  5. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    You could just lay cement on top of the contaminated dirt. That would also give you a new floor [​IMG]
  6. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    I'm seriously considering concrete. I just am not fond of playing with the stuff... Wait, do I still have cement from the deck pilings? OMG... BRB

    OMG. I still have bags left from the deck... weeeeee. Now all I need is to rent that mixer again... And no, this cripple doesn't mix by hand. That's too close an approximation of work. I prefer the lazy man's application of appropriate tools to the job. Like lifting big heavy things with a bobcat and using cement mixers and screw guns or nail guns. That way my gimpiness doesn't really matter.

    Okay, (chair dancing), I win. The floor for my coop is gonna be already bought cement/concrete. And the dirt can smell whichever way it likes under there.

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