Coop & run flooring

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SydneyChick, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. SydneyChick

    SydneyChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2011
    Hi! I'm hoping some of the eggsperts (lol!) or simply those with more experience than myself can help me...

    I'm a novice chicken keeper with 3 leghorn pullets. They have been 100% free-range but the poop everywhere is becoming a drag.

    For the time I spend sweeping & hosing the back porch, the chicks may as well be in a run which gets raked every second day.

    SO - being a mum of two small children I simply bought their coop on eBay and will be ordering the complimentary run extension soon.

    (I have taken measures to preserve & strengthen the flimsy fir wood as much as possible.)

    My plan is this - use treated pine poles to raise the coop/run about 5" off the ground. Use scrap wood to box in the 5" gap at the bottom, lay down galvanized mesh on the grass to discourage predators, then 2" of gravel and then 3" of river sand.

    The coop & run are roofed. Oh, and I also plan to dig & install a French drain under the whole setup before I do anything else.

    Am I missing anything? Would the coop/run have better drainage if I simply built a floor out of plywood & put the whole thing on stilts?

    Is that enough sand/gravel? The coop/run will be situated on the high side of a sloping backyard..

    Thanks in advance!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. tec27

    tec27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raising the coop off the ground is an extreme advantage. When it rains, the inside of the coop won't get wet at all (or at least there is no chance it will). When it is cold outside, since it is above the ground, the floor is not nearly as cold, thus keeping the coop warmer. There is also a very unlikely chance that rodents and other pests will get in the coop if it is raised off the ground. Does it need to be raised? no. mine isn't. its just a plus. Make sure the coop is ventilated. Some coops do not come ventilated and its a disaster. Just a couple holes at the top of the coop is fine. If not, the coop becomes a hot box and the smell who be over bearing.

    Once the coop is raised, build a ramp from the coop into the run. Fence in the bottom of the coop so it connects to the run. This allows the chickens to roam under the chicken coop which grants them more shade and keeps them out of the rain. When you fence in the run and coop, make sure you plant the fence a couple inches below the surface of the ground so animals can't dig under it as well.

    Another "new" thing people are doing is adding wheels to their chicken coop so it is mobile. Not my thing but a suggestion.

    Just make sure that you position your coop well enough so that you are able to get in it to clean it.

    Your coop will get very dirty very fast. Chickens are very messy. I had a wooden floor in my chicken coop but then i inserted cheap laminate flooring. This helps so much in cleaning and just being able to spray down the entire coop every once in awhile. When it comes to flooring you can use either straw or wood chips. Don't use cedar because it is toxic to chickens. Pine chips are fine but are more expensive than straw. If you find you are able to keep your coop dry, straw is the best. The only problem with straw is that when it gets wet, it keeps the water so your coop will be damp. Damp+poop=big mess and smell.

    Hang your feeder from the roof of the coop or some other fixture. If not, there will be food everywhere.

    Keep the water bowl raised above the ground but planted firmly on an object. I use just a wooden block. Once again if not, water will be everywhere. I don't know what they do with it but it looks like a splash down when they're done with it.

    Chickens love sun, so having everything roofed in isn't the greatest. This also doesn't allow the ground to dry if its damp. They love to scratch in the dirt looking for bus and such.

    Sand and gravel is great for chickens. Grass and dirt are great too. I prefer grass and dirt because its easier. Sand gets messy and gross after awhile. Remember they are chickens, they're not very picky. Mine are just in regular grass (which they turned to dirt) right now. In the summer i section one part of the run off for dust or fine sand. They like to play in this and they clean themselves off with the dust. It also prevents mice and lice.

    A french drain sounds a little much and unnecessary. But i don't know ur backyard. Remember what i said, dampness+poop is not good. its a disastrous mess.

    Wherever they are roosting in your coop, put a litter box or something beneath them. They poop like crazy when they roost and it is just a horrible mess after a couple days. But with a removable litter box below them, it is easy to just remove it and dump it. Saves time.

    Honestly a lot of this stuff is personal opinions. Something that works for me might be horrible for you. So you have to play around with different things. Hopefully some of this stuff helps.
     
  3. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 4, 2011
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    i love tec27's answer my coop is raised about 2 1/2 feet its 4x6 soo by putting wire mesh on the legs its an extra 24ft2 of run and its shade or shelter depending on the weather and i also have vinyl tile down if u go to a lowes or similar look for the discontinued stuff my tiles i bought for 5 cents each.
     
  4. SydneyChick

    SydneyChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2011
    Ok. Gotcha - my henhouse/coop where the girls sleep & roost is well raised of the ground. But the rest of the coop is just resting on the grass and the run will be as well... So sand and gravel just on top of the grass? Or is it much preferable to build a floor for the coop & run and raise it on legs - then do the gravel & sand bit?

    BTW: when I say "coop" I'm talking about a 1m x .93m structure which includes a raised henhouse with nesting boxes AND a small outdoor area - all fenced in with wire mesh. But at the moment this coop just sitting on grass because the girls free range so much.
     
  5. caw6142

    caw6142 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2012
    Bedford , Virginia
    Ok, I'm new to the chicken thing and you sound more knowledgeable than my current level..lol..so I have a few ?'s 4 u. I currently have a 8x10 metal shed we converted to the coop...added 2 windows for ventilation have a roosting pole over a poop board with feed/water hanging underneath 1, will add a second roost/board with nesting boxes underneath as the ladies continue to grow. I have a hardware cloth floor to prevent predators, plus buried chicken wire around the perimeter. Inside I have dirt floor with pine shavings...using the DLM, may switch to straw. Attatched to the front of the shed we have a 10x8x6 kennel with a 10x10x4 attatched off to the side of that.(we have 24 chickens and 2 turkeys) Currently there is only dirt, there were leaves, we have them in a grove. Should I add straw to the run area or just leave it dirt? What are the recommended cleaning methods/frequency on the suggested run flooring? Th e reason for asking is the ground looks pretty funky and I'm not sure if I should clean it or let mother nature do her thing. Both Kennels are 'open' on top to allow rain, sun, etc. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!
     
  6. tec27

    tec27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2011
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    First off, really make sure that no poop is falling in or around their feed/water/nesting boxes. Thats just gross and could lead to some complications. My food and water bowls are beneath my nesting boxes which is farthest away from their roosting poles.

    My coop is a shed i bought from Lowe's so it has a wooden floor. I put kitchen tile down so cleaning would be easy. Honestly it is the best thing i ever done in my coop. Cleaning takes less than 5 minutes. I've never had a dirt floor chicken coop before but i have used DLM before and i really liked it so you should be good. The dirt floor kinda freaks me out but it should be fine. With a dirt floor just make sure that the pine shavings absorb the water from the floor. Damp coups are susceptible to bacteria.

    My run is just dirt. I don't put straw or anything down. On hot days the girls like to sun bathe and dust themselves in the dirt. On wet days they play in the mud. I used to have my entire run open, but now i have about 1/2 of it closed with a roof. This gives the girls some shade during the days but still allows them to be outside.

    I never clean my run. Never. It seems like all my chickens prefer to poop inside the coop because the run doesn't look overly gnarly or anything. If it starts to look funky go in there with a rake or a shovel and toss some of the bad areas out and replace it with some more dirt or sand. I added a gravely sand to a section of my run and my chickens for some reason really like it. Some other people i know have added regular sand to their runs. I would do this but it rains a lot here and wet sand isn't fun. Other than that i just allow mother nature to do her thing outside. My run is also very clean because, currently, i only have 10 chickens. 10 chickens to a 50 by 50 run. You may need to ask some other people what they keep in their runs. But from all the pictures i have seen of other people's runs, they are almost always dirt floor.

    Any other questions feel free to ask or pm me.
     

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