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floor material for duck/chicken house? and roost height

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TLWR, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have some old trex that I want to use that we have enough of to do the floor of the new duck/chicken house. For some reason, and he doesn't know what it is exactly, DH doesn't want to use it and have a solid floor. So what other options do we have? Our entire yard is fenced with field fencing and the new house will go beside a shed and I 'may' fence around that at some point to have a more secure area for them if we head out of town for a night and not need to have somebody come in.


    Roosts -
    The plan is to build the back half of the duck house higher and put a roost on that back half for possible chickens. How high up should it be from the floor? How much space from roost to roof?
    If I want to put a board under it to catch droppings so the ducks stay chicken poop free... how close to the roost can that be?


    Thank :)
     
  2. oddbirdranch

    oddbirdranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my experience you really don't want a floor. Duck poo is wet and also will eat away/decay the floor. They can also get bumble foot from walking through too much wet poo and bacteria that will surely build up unless you are scrubbing it out daily. My ducks nearly ruined my chicken coop floor when I allowed them to stay in there for about a month. My duck house has layers - the ground, hardware cloth to keep out rodents, then gravel, then wood chips (mold resistent mulch, & never cedar) to protect their feet, then straw in winter for warmth. It still gets pretty yucky in there but it's all I have found works well after a few years of trying different things. I clean it as often as I clean the chickens so I thinks it's pretty good. I only have to remove old/wet straw and I top up on the wood chips if it needs it. Some will recommend sand for drainage, to me that was the stinkiest of all... lol
     
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are in a solid floor environment now and I just hose it out as needed, more frequently in the hotter months.
    And I don't think you can decay the trex decking.
     
  4. oddbirdranch

    oddbirdranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know what that is but it sounds easier than what I have. I'd love to see your setup, maybe it would be an improvement on mine... do you have a pic of the floor? How does water drain out when you hose it out?
     
  5. Roark

    Roark Out Of The Brooder

    Didn't wanna highjack, but I'm just starting a new coop and duck house/hut for our critters that'll be sharing the same orchard run, and your thread struck a common chord so I thought I'd chime in. The Trex won't rot, but the rounded edges and seams might be a PITA to try and get clean. Small gaps are great places for pathogens to take up shop.

    I've been all over the place on this one as well. My ducks are gonna get an insulated hut, close to the ground with a screen floor over a plastic tray that I can pull out. We want to put a living/green roof on top of that and on the separate coop, to help mitigate extreme temperatures and provide some more grow space. I haven't completely decided yet, but the walls of both will either be FRP (fiberglass resin panels) glued to cover the plywood walls, or maybe an epoxy coating, or one of the newer super H.D. acrylic coatings (if I can find any info on how peck proof/chicken safe the stuff is). Wifee saw some stuff on the DIY channel that we've played with some called Roll Stone that is incredibly strong, I just need to make sure it is bird safe.

    I've read a lot here about people using sheet vinyl flooring to provide a scrubable surface, but I was concerned about sealing the corners in a way that didn't end up being a dirt and germ trap. The FRP is wonderfully tough stuff, but it usually has a textured finish that I'm thinkin' might make pooh scrapin' a little meaner. As strong as it is, it still requires trim pieces and caulk to be watertight, so that all goes back to the whole creating little cracks and crevices for germs and junk to hide. This is why and where I keep finding myself returning to the idea of some sort of painted application. If it's animal safe the urethane porch paint that I used on my wooden shop floor is about the toughest stuff I've ever seen, just don't breath the fumes. Whatever it ends up being I'll have to make sure it gets plenty of sun and ventilation to finish off-gassing before I let the birds near them. More OT, but I'm surprised I haven't read any warnings about the off gassing issue, particularly with all of the OSB and manufactured wood products I see being used in some of these designs. A tremendous amount of our wood products are now coming from overseas, and they don't all necessarily adhere to the same clean air standards being adopted here. Also would warn folks about re-purposing or burning pallets from overseas. Some are sprayed with fumigants to prevent exporting/importing bugs, and some are sprayed with fire retardants, and as someone who has been chemically poisoned and is now hyper sensitive, I take no chances.

    Right now my coop design is to be 4'x8' with the 8' side fully accessible by splitting the entire wall into two 4' wide doors for cleaning. Our winters here are never very harsh so chasing everybody out on a sunny day to clean shouldn't be a problem. I'm gonna make the roosts lift outs for cleaning, and cant the floor slightly so I can hose everything out quickly and have it all drain completely - probably about a 1/4" of fall per foot.I hope to cover all of the interior surfaces with the same waterproof material for that reason. My health issues conspire with my natural OCDism to help me over think everything, but looking ahead, I have never regretted over building anything, only cutting corners. Whatever you decide to try, I'd say consider the amount of work the little things can amount to over the years.

    I honestly can't imagine our three ducks sharing a coop with our 6 chickens. First of all, the ducks are incredible pigs, and second of all, the ducks are incredible pigs. Our ducks are crazy but a lot more Zen then the ADD chickens, so my duck hut will be a litte apart from the coop, more to keep the ducks from crapping up the coop than anything else. Also want my ducks to lay in one spot, so I'm trying to incorporate a few semi-private nesting boxes in the sides of the duck hut. I know the ducks prefer staying closer to the ground with all of that so I'm also hoping that the 2' climb into the coop will discourage them. Our chickens think our ducks are insane, so I'm pretty sure that if the ducks are acclimated to their hut, the chickens won't go near it, but I'm wrong as often as I'm right so we'll see.

    I've seen a lot of chicken tractor roosts that only appear to be about a foot of free space over head, but I would try to give'em at least a foot and a half. If I had a dark colored, uninsulated, roof and anything less than optimum ventilation, I would probably make it even more since hot air rises and pools along the ceiling VERY significantly. Hold a thermometer up near the ceiling in your house and then down near the floor. On the second floor of a two story house runnin' A/C in the summer I've seen as much as 20 degree variances once poorly insulated attic gets super heated. Likewise in the dead of winter when we have the wood stove crankin' it can be 20 degrees or more hotter at the ceiling than at floor level in our house.

    This is why I drive my wife nuts. Her dad kept chickens his whole life in a creaky falling down wood slat coop with a dirt floor and some straw with no worries. To each his own I suppose.
    One last thing, I also just started reading up on DE and it looks like it can help in innumerable ways, so you might wanna look at incorporating that as well. Good luck.
     
  6. crittergarden

    crittergarden Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey Roark - ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

    I'm designing my coop now. planning for 3 chickens and 2 ducks NEXT year.
    I was also curious about roost height.
    Antbody want to chime in on that?
     
  7. Roark

    Roark Out Of The Brooder

    Qu'est-ce que c'est, this plan and build ahead that you speak of? This concept is foreign to us here at Casa de Jump First and Look Later.

    We had of course been discussing the idea of getting a few hens... some day,
    but then we wandered into Tractor Supply during their "Chick Days" or something, and once Mrs. Doolittle heard their little peeping voices - it was all over but the crying. Of course since they had ducks there too, we naturally had to rescue them as well. I'm only thankful that they weren't staging a special "Month of the Goose and Emu".

    Having had the spirit beat completely out of me sometime over the last 27 years, I am no longer physically or mentally able to form the word "No" in the love of my life's presence, so I have just come to accept it as my lot that one day I may be digging a thousand gallon hole to house some carnival goldfish, or installing 20 acres of fence to to brighten the days of some rescued, sway back old nag (that by some perverse coincidence hates me). N'er a stray cat nor mangy mongrel have we ever encountered, that wasn't deemed worthy of our suburban ark. It's really fun. Try finding an avian vet who can treat diabetes in African Grey parrots sometime... but I digress.

    After some checking and reading I've been told that pretty much all of the coatings I considered are fine as long as they are given the chance to adequately dry and cure. The roost height depends on the breed and available space from what I've seen. Several folks here have added little ramps to help older or bigger birds, or just to assist in getting them acclimated, but if my chicks are any indication, anything that allows them to stand above the crowd is attractive to them. Mine are constantly tussling to see who gets to hop up on top of their watering station (a quart Mason jar). It's pretty hilarious. I've seen some that were several feet off of the ground, and some that the birds could hardly walk under, so I'm not sure what the "ideal" might be. Maybe make it adjustable just in case?

    I would add that based on my novice experiences, two ducklings are easily capable of out-messing probably three or four dozen chickens, a cow, several goats and a donkey. Mine are absolutely hilarious, but obviously first cousin to feral swine. ;)
     
  8. oddbirdranch

    oddbirdranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. honeynajar

    honeynajar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is this you David???? OK maybe not.... you had me up til the Avian vet. I thought you were my husband there for awhile!!! [​IMG] He says the same things about me! LOL You've got some awesome points in your posts and the only reason I don't have any ducks in my brood is that infamous trip to Tractor Supply some ingrate bought them all while I wasn't looking! But since you slightly mention that ducks are incredible pigs <smirk> I'm grateful that I don't have that to worry about on top of everything else I'm OCD'ing over. LOL Thanks for the giggles! I'll be watching for your posts to give me my smile!
     
  10. Roark

    Roark Out Of The Brooder

    Sorry Hon, David's my brother's name, and yes he has also had the life force sucked from him, like the marrow from a bone, just as I. We are how you say... husbands well trained. The extent of our otherwise impressive vocabularies is rapidly condensed to a myopic "yes dear, whatever you want - you're absolutely right" accompanied by a kind of institutionalized, thorazine-like induced nodding of the head, whenever we find ourselves within ice picking range of our significant others. As the humorist Helen Rowland once put it, "A husband is what is left of the lover after the nerve has been extracted." Although I am relatively confident of my wife's fidelity (or more likely blissfully ignorant of any contrary reality) it has been quite some time since I can recall her referring to me as "her lover".

    More often than not I am the recipient of THAT look which you girls reserve for your neutered servants, er ... husbands. That look which in a scant glance, conveys the universal contempt and disgust that you all seem to secretly harbor toward us, the ones who are to blame for the physical aftereffects of child birth, at least in your subconscious minds. You are all truly sisters, and we full well recognize the hopeless nature of our plight... so we just nod and agree, if we know what is good for us and have not as yet mastered the art of sleeping with one eye open. You know... truth be told, we were just fine when it was just the two of us and we had a life... before children, but maybe that's a male not-so secret that I wasn't supposed to share.

    Spider killin', snake grabbin', heavy stuff totin', jar openin', auot mechanic. general field hand who takes direction well, and giver of a few good giggles. Some of us do have our uses.

    Please do not allow my sardonic observations sour you on ducks. They are much worse than I alluded, but worth every bit of the extra work and aggravation. Also, duck eggs in baked goods and omelets are da bomb. It's my little secret weapon in cakes, so I just had to have a machine that could make 'em for me. 'Course the Mallard is far from being one of the hybrid egg laying machines, but I figure they were a safe bet to get acquainted with, and if they got to be too big a pain I could just forget to close the run one day and... (if my wife ever reads this you'll know because my posts will cease as abruptly as they started). Not that I had any choice either way. Funny you mention the guy who grabbed the last few. I thought I had successfully dodged a bullet the day we got ours 'cuz there was a guy who had just finished having the last dozen boxed up for himself, but my wife gave him the long face and he relented giving us three (gee...what a nice guy....sassin' frasssin' sunofagun, dirty rotten...). I was this close. :)
     

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