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DE and pine shavings? Chickens roosting on ledge to nesting box?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by southphoenixchick, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. southphoenixchick

    southphoenixchick In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2010
    We've got neighbors who have chickens and they run free and don't even have a coop but we live in phoenix and it's pretty warm here so I guess that's fine for them but we choose to build a coop and run and ended up needing it because our dogs wouldn't stop killing our chickens. They even broke in to the run a few times. It's been a bit rough but we now have a dog proof run and coop. We had a battle with disease with our chickens and lost three (from a small flock of seven). We know another person who has chickens and her chickens have bare dirt floor and she says she rarely has to clean it. It seemed to be going well for us, no strong smell because of how open the run is but I'm beginning to think it isn't sufficient for taking "good" care of our chickens. I bought pine shavings and DE to spread on the ground. Has anyone used this method and how did it go?

    Also we have one other problem with our design that someone might have a solution to. We put a ledge to the nesting boxes and a ladder style roosting bars opposite it and the girls refuse to use the roosting bars and are using the ledge to the nesting boxes. The nesting boxes are up only two to three feet from the ground perhaps we could just remove the ledge the girls would have no problem getting in still? I just don't know. After we'd built the nesting boxes we hadn't put up the ledge right away and one of the girls was found dead in the coop with apparently a broken neck. I think she fell trying to either get out or in of the nesting boxes but it seems strange from such a short height to have such damage. Their roosting bar in the run is higher than the nesting boxes. We need to get them off the ledge though because they are pooping in to the nesting boxes because they sleep butt in to the nesting boxes head and body out on the ledge.

    Thanks for any advice about either the flooring of the coop and run or the ledge.

  2. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Quote:I have also run into this problem. The solution (that I learned from BYC) is to make sure the roosts are higher than the nest boxes. Chickens like to go "up" to sleep. It has worked 100% for me...
  3. southphoenixchick

    southphoenixchick In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2010
    I'm in trouble then because one bar is higher than the ledge and they are still using the ledge. I can't put both bars higher than the ledge because my coop is only just over four feet high.
  4. swimmer

    swimmer Songster

    Aug 17, 2010
    As for the ground cover. With the dry climate your in, staw would work good. I'm in Utah and is pretty dry here as well. I use straw and rake it up once a week and throw some new stuff down. I haven't used any DE since I haven't had a reason to yet. Some people use sand and clean it like a littler box. But might be a little warm on their feet during the hottest months. I don't put a whole lot of straw down, just enough to cover the ground. I'm sure the pine shaving would work just as good. I just have an easier time raking up the straw, especially when the wind is blowing which is all the time in the desert.
    As for the other ...[​IMG]
    It does seem strange one had a broken neck. The height shouldn't be an issue. I'd try removing the ledge again and see how it goes. We had a ledge by our boxes also and the nesting boxes were a mess. Covered the boxes with a slanted board so they couldn't roost there. Now they refuse to roost on the roosting bar and sleep on a pile on the floor. Go figure. Silly things.[​IMG][​IMG]
  5. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    I had issue with the hens pooping onto of the nest box(old wicker laundry bin),so I covered the bin.It is on concrete blocks,so it is not high enough to need a bar.And for some reason our hens prefer to roost on straw bales instead of the roosts.We use mostly pine shavings for the floor.
  6. southphoenixchick

    southphoenixchick In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2010
    We didn't remove the ledge completely we just lowered it. I think we may have to remove it completely. The roosting bars are all higher than the ledge now but they are still roosting on the ledge. Although I may not bother since the ledge is lower than the nesting boxes they aren't pooping in the nesting boxes just all over the ledge.
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have used pine shavings on a dirt floor for about three years. It's a pretty thick layer now. I never remove all the old shavings. I rake them some, and sprinkle a small amount of DE around occasionally. If it gets a bit smelly in there, usually in rainy weather, I sprinkle pellletized lime. They can't see it so they don't eat it, and it is not messy. I am still working on my first bag, which I probably bought a year ago for less than $10 (I really don't remember.) I add new pine shavings when I feel it is needed. In time, everything breaks down and becomes soil. This would probably happen even more quickly in your dry climate.

    About half their daily poop will be produced when they are on the roosts, so you will have lots of poop on and under roosts, or wherever they roost. Many people use poop boards under the roost, something like a scrap of linoleum under the roosts that they can pull out and dump in the compost daily, or something similar.

    If you have a problem with their pooping in nest boxes again, you may have to close them off at night.

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