Damp Bedding on Concrete Floor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Heidi, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. Heidi

    Heidi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2007
    Northwest Michigan
    My DH built me a new chicken pole barn this past summer. I've noticed in the past two weeks that the bedding is damp. I've added more wood shavings and some DE in hopes that it would get absorbed, but it's still damp. (I've been following the "deep litter method") Today I ended up shoveling out all of their bedding (6 inches deep) and replacing it. Before I layed down the bedding I placed 1/4" plywood in one pen and 2 pieces of 1/4" plastic panel in the other pen. I'm hoping this will cut down on the dampness. Any one else have ideas or the same kind of problem? Our weather has been teens during the day and single digits to minus' at night. I'd appreciate any ideas. Thanks.
     
  2. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    I've been having this problem also. So there must be something about the floor or the building that is causing this.

    Anyone have any ideas? I have to replace my litter about every 10 days now.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Several possibilities. First, you're sure that you haven't got a leak (or waterer spills) somewhere, or groundwater coming up thru the slab? Second, is *all* the bedding damp, or is it just the layer right against the slab? If all the bedding is damp, the issue is too much humidity (cures include more ventilation, litter change, and/or droppings boards cleaned daily)

    It is also possible that in a small building your slab has cooled enough that it is condensing vapor out of the air (the air amongst the litter). This is only a possibility if there is a considerable temperature difference between the coop air and the slab. I don't get that problem in my chicken building which is slab-floored BUT it is large enough that the slab is not really freezing yet and not much differential between it and the coop air... certainly condensate on a cold slab occurs 'normally' when you have a warm day in late winter, and I ahve seen it once in a bedded animal pen with a heatlamp in a closed rather humid barn. So it *can* happen with bedding... dunno if this is your situation tho. *If* it is, then plywood under the bedding will help prevent it.

    First though make sure your problem isn't simply needing more ventilation.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I have been concerned that my new coop (not being used yet) would have this problem. I noticed that the cement floor in the covered garage on one of our rentals is ALWAY wet in the winter time. My dh thinks it has to do with condensation... Maybe you should try sealing the cement/concrete with a waterproofer.. Not sure...I hope some will let us know and how to handle it..Dixie
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    When the problem is condensation, a sealer will make no difference. Sealer only helps if it is ground moisture coming up.

    Cure for condensation problems is to either reduce the temperature differential (keep floor warmer and/or air cooler) or reduce humidity. In normal slab-floored buildings, this means keeping windows/doors shut as much as possible on warmish days (when the outside air is carrying more moisture) until the slab has warmed up in late spring.

    I have this problem in my horse barn to a considerable extent; and there are days in the spring and late winter when I have to strictly limit ventilation in my chicken building for the same reason (it has a lot of exposed slab).

    Pat
     
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Patandchickens - wouldn't you want to increase ventilation so as to get the floor as close to the temperature of the air as possible? I'm a bit confused - thanks for posting this, Heidi!
     
  7. geareduplyn

    geareduplyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have these problems since all my floors are dirt. I would though try some pellet horse bedding as a first layer if it is condensation. If the moisture is coming from below an epoxy sealer is probably the only solution.
     
  8. TXmom

    TXmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Would it help to use a different kind of bedding...like the pine wood pellets for horses? There's another thread about how great that is for bedding because it is absorbent and dries very very quickly.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:For condensation-on-cold-concrete-floors (or cold-solid-stone-or-cinderblock-walls) problems, the problem occurs when the incoming air is pretty warm (which nearly always means humid) compared to the air inside the building. At those times, like on the first really nice day of March or April, any air that goes into the building is going to have its moisture stripped right out as condensate on all the high-thermal-mass parts of the inside of the building, such as the floor. (In my horse barn, the great thick timber beams also do it something awful). So on those days you "limit the damage" by shutting the building up. A day's worth of warm air wasn't going to make any meaningful dent in the slab's temperature anyhow.

    Of course you do want the slab to warm up as spring progresses. But that needs to happen on relatively COOLER (ie. generally drier air) days.

    So much/most of the time, when the air is dryish and coolish, you ventilate the crud out of the building; but when the air outdoors is warm and humid, you go shut it down.

    I know it may sound kind of backwards (ventilate on cooler days, close it up on the really warm nice south-wind days) but it can greatly reduce humidity buildup in an outbuilding. Especially important if you are storing hay somewhere that behaves this way!

    This has nothing specific to do with chicken coops, understand. Just outbuildings in general. Actually the same goes for ventilating a basement in springtime, to minimize summer humidity down there [​IMG]

    Does that make more sense?

    Pat
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you want to know whether your moisture problem is condensation or moisture rising from below, get a sheet of decently heavy plastic. Like from a bag of shavings or something. Cut it so it will lay very flat against the floor. Carefully clean an area of floor for it, lay it down, then cover up with bedding just like the rest of the coop. Check it in a few days. If there is a collection of moisture UNDER the plastic, it's coming from the ground. If it's not especially damp underneath but the shavings atop it are damp, it's a condensation problem (or other coop-source problem, like a leak or something). Of course you need to keep the chickens from messing with it in the meantime [​IMG]

    Pat
     

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