Deep litter coop in the snow belt.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lazy gardener, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I'm hoping to build a new coop. It would be about 8 x 12, with a soil floor. I don't have a lot of options for location, frost goes very deep. My property is all wooded and very bony, with limited soil, and quite a few vernal pools in the areas we haven't improved. I'll probably have to put down a deep gravel base to get an area to set the coop. So, here's the question: Without putting posts down to below frost level, what are my best options to build a coop that will be stable, and will be predator proof in terms of rats and the like digging under the coop wall to gain entry. I'd also like to have the bottom 12" of the coop be rot resistant, but don't want to use pressure treated lumber in the construction. Any one in the cold weather zones have a similar sized coop with soil floor, and how did you construct it to deal with the constant movement due to frost? I think the ideal would be a cinder block base around the entire perimeter, but I can't imagine that being stable enough.
     
  2. adacombe

    adacombe Out Of The Brooder

    Just an option or 2, are you set on a soil floor? If you built a wood floor up on concrete pads, you could insulate it and still use the deep litter method, just another option that might be more secure with shifting. My coop floor is wood, but my run is soil. When I attached the wire fencing to my run posts I folded the mesh along the bottom so that it extended out from the posts by about 2 feet, and covered with soil/gravel. It looks like the fencing stops at the ground but it is actually buried 2 feet out so skunks and coons cant dig at the base of the fence. They aren't smart enough to start digging 2 feet away... You could lay wire fencing around the perimeter and tack it onto your walls and cover it up with soil/gravel...

    so many options!
     
  3. Loghousemom

    Loghousemom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am in North Dakota. I didn't build my coop, but I can tell you that I have a wood shed set ontop of a concrete base. My building is aprox. 30x70 or so. A fifty foot square or so is where I currently house chickens. The wood frame is built onto 24+ inches of concrete. It was then back filled with dirt. I think it may have had a wood floor at one time in one section. when we purchased the property we removed half of the dirt and misc out and added it to our compost. Then and tossed down lots of fresh straw, hay, leaves and whatnot. I would say it was about 10 inches deep. I usually add new floor material every other week through the winter and in the spring I shovel half out into the compost and start adding new and mixing it up. I know I need to remove it when it reaches the top of the cement base.

    The remainder of the building is my feed center where I hold my barrels of grain and feed for the fowl, cats and dogs. It has a cement floor, but I think I will be moving most of the cats from this shed into a new one soon. Then I will throw down pine shavings in a good portion to help with insulating. That floor gets very cold in the winter and I run a heater there for the cats and dogs.

    Good luck with your build!
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Yeah, the easiest construction would be with a solid floor, but I, of course want to do it the hard way, so the DL will interface directly with the soil for better microbe action. My Husband has done building design for his entire adult life, and his plan would include some type of frost wall or posts set to below frost level, or pressure treated... and of course the expense of that would be greater than the value of the building would warrant... so I'm just wondering what the construction of soil floor coops that others may be using is like.
     
  5. Loghousemom

    Loghousemom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine has a dirt floor as the most of it. Think of a basement that was filled in. That is what mine reminds me of... But I honestly think the concrete base only goes into the ground two or three feet or so. I use deep litter and just love it for its ease of use. However.... With ducks and geese, I am not sure that I like it. I don't heat their house and the water just freezes on everything! And the straw and whatever else just freezes into huge piles. I need a better system over there in that house. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Why not just pour a concrete footer and top that with block, then build with wood? You can bury some wire right into the concrete footer and let it extend upward a couple of feet so you can attach it to the lower part of your wood on the coop. Then you can have your soil floor but it's not likely anything will dig under your footer and concrete base, nor will they be able to breech your wood at the base of the coop for the wire over it.
     
  7. Loghousemom

    Loghousemom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a great idea Bee! I am hoping to move a building this summer to make more housing since I plan to hatch or purchase a few turkeys this year. I will have to keep this idea in mind. I think it would work wonderfully as a base.
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I must admit, it's not my idea. A place I rented some years ago had a coop just like that....concrete footer topped with concrete block, then wooden coop. They didn't have the wire but it was a great coop, nonetheless. The coop floor was lovely for dusting and that was before I tried deep litter.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Any where I would put it would require some extensive earth work for a footer due to the lay of the land, and the existing buildings, well, septic etc. And the best location is not accessible with equipment due to the septic system. I think I'm moving away from the soil floor idea and leaning towards a solid floor with vinyl for ease of cleaning. I'm thinking that if I put an occasional shovel full of garden soil in, that might get more microbial action going. I'm actually thinking of a clere story design, built in 2 sections, so that if I ever needed to move it, the sections could be unbolted, and it would be easier to move. This design would give excellent ventilation, and with some double hung windows on the southern face, it should give a nice green house effect in the winter.
     

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