flooring for concrete run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Desert-Chicken, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Desert-Chicken

    Desert-Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Hi there!
    Well, we're now planning on building a home for our first chickens and I need some advice! I've read Raising Chickens for Dummies and done some research online but still have some questions...
    We live in the middle-east by the sea, where it's hot and humid with very rare rainfall. We'll be keeping chickens on our roof/terrace which has concrete flooring.
    Many locals have chickens like this but most just keep them outside, sometimes with fencing to keep them from escaping, with a roost and some nest-boxes. Because it never really gets cold here shelters aren't really a necessity I guess, but we want to also make some kind of shelter.
    My question is: what flooring would you recommend, considering it's going to be on top of our concrete roof. I was thinking of going for the deep litter method with wood shavings, but my hubby was scared that it might get humid underneath and might not be good for the concrete, or else we could try gravel topped with a nice layer of wood-shavings, to help keep the moisture off the concrete. Or else just gravel. Or alternatively we use sand (which is generally what the locals use, although it is sometimes a bit stinky!). I like the idea of the deep-litter method because it's less cleaning! But don't want to risk moisture ruining the concrete underneath...
    Any advice would please be welcome!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I am no expert of construction so I will let others weigh in and hopefully give you good advice. My first thought when reading this though is that sand can get really hot - hot enough to burn their feet - unless it is fully shaded from the sun. However many people use and love sand for its ease of care so if you are able to keep it from getting too hot, that would probably be a good option. Will they have access to any grassy areas? Mine are able to free-range and its amazing how much grass they actually eat. In the evening especially, right before bed, they wander along like little cows. Since you are on a concrete roof, could you make grass plots for them by planting grass in containers? They will destroy a small patch in no time but a lot of people have success by putting a screen over the top so they can't scratch it and can only eat the grass as it comes out the top of the screen. Good luck!
     
  3. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
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    First, provide shelter with shade and lots of it. Do NOT let the chickens sit on bare concrete in the sun. Under the shelter I would provide a layer of sand
    say 2" thick which I would then cover with pine shavings. The pine shavings will absorb what little moisture you might get on the sand. Probably you will not be
    able to furnish grass to the chickens, but leaves of lettuce or cabbage would be a good substitute.
    By the way, it would take a heck of a lot of water and a long, long period of time for water to damage concrete. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  4. Desert-Chicken

    Desert-Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Thanks a lot for your welcome and ur speedy help!
    But I made a mistake, it's not concrete, but it's cement, which is not really water-resistant, my hubby thought of using gravel under pine shavings to drain the water and moisture, we do have a a hole for drainage from the roof. What do you think?
    It's true that it VERY rarely rains here but the air in itself is very humid, although the area will get quite some wind.
    BoltonChicken-what's the wisdom of using sand underneath the pine shavings?
    HEChicken- providing grass might be a bit tricky but I'm sure we can find substitutes.

    Any more advice or suggestions would be appreciated!
     
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    If grass isn't an option, I would try to give them as many green leafy vegetables as you can. I have no idea what is available to you there - you probably have options we don't. Mine LOVE collards, mustard greens and kale. They will eat Swiss Chard but prefer the first mentioned. I grow all of these in my vegie garden and have more than our family can eat so every day I pick a few leaves and offer them. They go nuts for them. I usually hold the leaves by the stems which makes it easier for them to tear of bite-sized pieces.
     
  6. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lots of shade first of all.

    You should consider sealing the floor area if it's not already to prevent soaking from the poo and maybe a couple inches sand. It cleans easy and does not develop a mold issue.

    Would your area allow you to have a few mobile boxes of grass or fast growing veggies that could be rolled into and out of the run so the birds can snack but not eat it to the roots and kill it? Maybe set 4'x4'x6" boxes on kid's wagons for easy movement
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  7. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    BoltonChicken-what's the wisdom of using sand underneath the pine shavings?

    Sand absorbs and drys very quickly, pulling any moisture out of the pine shavings and allowing them to dry. I will admit that I have spent little time
    in desert areas, so there might be something else out there that the locals are doing that will work better that I don't know about.​
     
  8. vivan88

    vivan88 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 24, 2011
    I have no experience in this area, I'm sorry I can not help you
     
  9. Desert-Chicken

    Desert-Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Thanx for the help.
    We can buy cabbage very cheaply, or else a kind of grass they give to goats, I think that might be the easiest solution for them to get greens. But food is another whole problem that I'm about to tackle, here they just feed them grains and there's no commercial feed, so I need to do more research into what's available here, and what would be a good diet for my chickens. They do have lots of different grains, and we should be able to get fishmeal and oyster shells without too much diffficulty, we're not far from the sea.
    I think we're gonna cover the whole shelter with a corrugated iron roof but two sides will be open with fencing, so they'll be getting quite some air circulation and there should be sun coming in from one side until about 10am in the morning, when the sun is rising. But if it does occasionally rain, not much rain should get in, so humidity shldn't be too much of an issue.
    As for the flooring I'm still debating. I really did like the idea of deep pine shavings, as I don't fancy having to sweep there every couple of days or so, so maybe we should try pine shavings with sand underneath as BoltonChicken suggests. What do other ppl think?
    We also might look to see what we could use to seal the roof to make it more water-resistant, good idea Bryan.

    Any other tips always appreciated!

    Thanks for being such a friendly and helpful community! Chicken-fans seem like pretty decent ppl!!!
     

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