Coopy & Yard Design - Need urgent ideas!!

ahernfam

Hatching
9 Years
Feb 7, 2010
4
0
7
We are in the process of building a chook house & yard for our 6 rapidly growing chickens (plus one new “big chook” we rescued!) The plan is this: A 3-sided chook house, facing north & sheltered from the wind, opening into a predator-proof yard that has a few banana trees in the corner and a lot of bare dirt!

My questions are:

1. Deep Litter on earthern floor, or sand (?) on wooden floor?: Not sure whether to elevate the pen off the ground to help reduce vermin access and cover it with coarse river sand perhaps, or whether to have a dirt floor & deep litter? The dirt floor apparently improves the composting of the deep litter by contact with microbes in soil? The chook house will open directly into the yard (i.e. no door). Should I use a barrier along the ground (if pen is on dirt) to stop the stuff spilling out into the yard. I’ve also heard that with deep litter it only needs to be cleaned out every 6-12 months which sounds perfect! But I’ve also heard it needs to be cleaned out more regularly if it’s on a wooden floor. (Oh, our chooks will also be partially free-ranging.) I definitely want material on the floor that can then be moved to our compost pile or directly to the garden. I’ve heard that deep litter is brilliant turned into a no-dig garden or similar. Not so sure what we’d do with the sand?
2. The yard: It’s completely dirt, because we’ve recently removed a massive amount of huge weeds. Any ideas for how I can improve the soil, or what I should do? I know the chooks would eventually get it down to bare soil anyway. Should I scatter some seed over it now so some green can grow before they move into the yard, or should I just scatter straw over the yard? Friends of ours throw just about everything into the yard for their chooks (all their vegie scraps, weeds etc). The chooks scratch through it all, then it gets moved onto the compost pile to finish off. Does this sound like a good idea?

Keen for all comments & suggestions!!

Karen (COMPLETE novice!!)
 

2txmedics

Songster
10 Years
Jul 5, 2009
1,792
10
161
Manvel Texas
I use DLM and I LOVE IT!!!! I have 25 girls in one run that is 10x10, and a coop that is about 4x6x10...I HAVE NOT had to change out the litter completely and YOU CAN NOT smell chickens in it!!!! I use Shavings, and DE, every day I got in and with a Hoe, I turn the shavings over.....once in awhile about once 1mo...I get a cat litter scooper and take out the poop.....IT SMELLS VERY CLEAN in there for so many chickens in a small area....I added to my flock and thought it would be a problem....

When I do clean detailed, which is once every 1 1/2mo....I take out the old shaving but ONLY 1/2, I leave the other 1/2 cause I read somewhere that it builds bacteria which is good bacteria and you want to keep it in there....so I take 1/2 off, and then I add more shavings and more DE....and Im done for almost another 2mos....

This is my coop and run size
36033_dsc_0752.jpg


and org. floor before the shavings
36033_nest_box_with_roosting.jpg


I need to get a pic. tomm of the floor for you to see, its about 5-6" deep

and here is a link to a page I made for coop plans that are free....PLEASE POST ON THAT LINK IF YOU HAVE A COMMENT TO KEEP IT RUNNING...
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=299269
 

ahernfam

Hatching
9 Years
Feb 7, 2010
4
0
7
Thanks for the encouragement - and I love the pics!! Very helpful. Just wondering, do you do the litter on a dirt floor base? It also looks like the front of the coop is open - is that right?

Thanks, Karen
 

2txmedics

Songster
10 Years
Jul 5, 2009
1,792
10
161
Manvel Texas
Yes I do use DML and I love it!!!! I have a flock of 25-30 in there at times, and YOU CAN "NOT" smell chickens at all....I use about 6" of litter, shavings and I go in daily and get the Hoe and turn it over real good, I sprinkle DE about every 2wks....about every 3wks I get the poop scooper and sift out the poop chunks....when I clean it detailed, its about every 3mos to as long as 6mos...I only take 1/2 of the litter out, as I read somewhere that they built up bacteria in there that is good, and to only remove 1/2 the litter so that you still have the same enviroment for them....Hope this helps.

Oh and yes, the front has a privace fence door with a hinge lock....I leave it open during the day, when its bad weather,cold or raiing I close it but leave it open about 3" so they can go in and out, if its bad storms I lock them in....

Deep Litter
36033_lil.jpg
 

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