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Coop & Run Design for a small urban plot that uses Deep Litter Method on Dirt Floor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lkingeryrd, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. lkingeryrd

    lkingeryrd Out Of The Brooder

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    I am thinking of the type of coop and run that will fit in my small urban landscape. I want to do the Old Time Deep Litter Method on a dirt floor, however, I noticed that almost all of the urban/small coop designs have a coop with an elevated floor. After pouring through this and many other sites and books, I am wondering the following:

    What is the appeal of the elevated coop? Just space saving?
    Does anyone has a small coop with a dirt floor that lives in the city that would be willing to share pictures or a design ( I want a coop with an attached run as well.)
    If the owners of the elevated coops (with linoleum floors and the like) are able to successfully generate compost and heat on their elevated floor with DLM or do they simply use this method to keep the odor at a minimum and reduce the work load? (I live in Wisconsin and was hoping for a cheap method of heating when the artic vortex collapses)
    Has anyone using DLM on an elevated coop been able to generate heat?
    Does DLM on an elevated floor have the advantages of reduced mites, parasites etc that the DLM on a dirt floor have?

    I apologize if these questions have been answered. I couldn't find the answer.

    The total area of my run and coop will have to live in a 12 ft x 6 ft area I am planning on getting 3 - 4 bantams.

    Thanks,

    Lisa
     
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The elevated coops are a good way to gain more square footage for the run. Plus, by elevating the coop, you create a covered area below that's sheltered from the weather.

    Most breeds of chickens are actually rather cold tolerant. What you need to be concerned about is adequate ventilation. You don't want a build up of moisture. Elevated coops need to provide enough height so that vents are well above the roosting birds. You want to make sure warm, moist air is moving up and out and not gathering at a level where that moisture will settle on the birds. This can sometimes cause design challenges but these can be easily overcome with thoughtful planning. A full height coop provides plenty of easy options for vent placement that is well above the birds.

    Elevated coops also don't benefit from the insulative properties of the ground below them. However, a thick layer of dry bedding can help negate the effects of cold. Design the coop accordingly to accomodate this. As for actually having composting deep litter in there, depending on the size of your coop, and the amount of waste being generated by your birds, you may not get sufficient levels of decomposition to generate the heat you are hoping for.

    If it were me in an urban setting and I was limited to just a 12x6 area my first priority would be to maximize usable run space. In the run is where my birds spend most of their time anyway, so I'd be looking for a design that have them the most outside space. For me, run space needs to be usable. If the climate is snowy and rainy, or excessively sunny and hot, in order to be usable the run needs to be covered. Given the limit of the total footprint, an elevated coop would provide more year-round usable space. That's far more valuable to me than a few degrees of heat in winter. I would do an elevated coop sized to accomodate a thick layer of bedding and equipped with poop trays for easy collection and disposal of poop.

    I would definitely do deep litter in your run though. It provides lovely enrichment for birds that are primarily kept penned or only have access to a small urban plot.
     
  3. dademoss

    dademoss Out Of The Brooder

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    Here is the "3 season" home for the chickens, they live in here mar/april-oct/nov, then they move to the greenhouse for the winter.

    They get to run around the "compound" during the day, and go into the coop and run at night. Food water and dust bath are in the run, the shed is the roost and nest box.

    No matter what design you choose, I would make sure to put hardware cloth on the ground, then put the coop/run up, racoons are great at digging.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  4. lkingeryrd

    lkingeryrd Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice. You have given me some things to think about.

    Lisa
     
  5. lkingeryrd

    lkingeryrd Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the post.

    Lisa
     
  6. lkingeryrd

    lkingeryrd Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2016
    I was thinking of simply burying a foot of wire cloth all around the perimeter of the run and coop. Do you think that is adequate or should I go 2 ft. or should I enclose even the bottom with wire cloth?

    Lisa
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Although some folks do put hardware cloth or other material under the entire run/coop to deter diggers, I usually recommend against it. Chickens dig. They scratch. And eventually they are going to get down to the bottom and can rip out a toenail or scratch up the bottoms of their feet.

    Our ground here is too rocky and hard to dig a trench all the way around. So all we did was put a hardware cloth skirt up about 2 feet on the sides of the run, then folded it out at the bottom to form an apron of about the same width extending outward. We were going to put rocks over that but procrastinated too long. Grass grew right up through it and now we can't even see it! Ken can mow right up to the edges of the run, which deters little critters from taking up residence in the tall grass or rock crevices! We just staked it down with landscape fabric staples. Does it work? Yep! Our over-excited English Setter tried to get at them the first day they were out in the run. She tried digging and all she did was break and bloody a toenail. She looked over her shoulder at the chickens as if it was all their fault, and never bothered them again!
     
  8. aCoolChick

    aCoolChick New Egg

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    Hi y'all
    I have the same question ... I see only raised coops, no ground level, deep litter coops. Someone out there must have a design in mind or a built coop that lies on the ground, for natural access to all the good microbes in the earth to process the bedding.

    I'm thinking a concrete (or concrete block) perimeter with an opening wide enough to cleaning out the compost, would cut down on the access by unwanted critters, but other than that, bare earth. All other components (roosts, nests, etc.) would be there as with any coop.

    Anyone out there with experience with this type of coop. There are at least two of us that would like to know! Thanks.
    A Cool Chick
     
  9. freerangepossum

    freerangepossum New Egg

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    If I cross a black Jersey Giant too on white barred rock hens, will they auto sex? A dark cornish hen and that black too?
     
  10. lkingeryrd

    lkingeryrd Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
    This is the coop I built in my tiny urban lot. I lined the entire perimeter with 6 inches of hardware cloth to keep out predators. No problems in that department so far even though their are several resident foxes and raccoons. There is no flooring in the coop or run. No hardware cloth either. Just a dirt floor. I have been using DLM for 4 1/2 months successfully. No smell. I rake it now and again. I add wood chips and pine shavings every now again too. I haven't survived a WI winter yet. I worry about dampness. The litter does get wet and stay wet in the run when we have several days of rain. Other than that, I think the DLM is awesome! I really spend very little time on the cleaning and caring of the coop. And I will have some really great compost come spring.
     

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