Flooring ? in coop and DE ?...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by amcstay, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. amcstay

    amcstay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    Good Evening All,

    I have a split level coop; the top level has a"loft" that has wire flooring where the nest boxes are and the bottom level sits on the ground. The part that sits on the ground is what I want to ask you all about.... At the moment my chicks are one week old and I put them in the coop during the day to play. They are only on the bottom level and that level (as it sits directly on the ground) has a gravel floor. Now, I know they will need an area to dust bath in and I do have a box that I was going to put down with old grass clippings, dirt, etc; but do I need to clear an area that has gravel as well? I would prefer not to clear the gravel, but will walking on gravel all the time hurt the girls eventually?

    My second ? is about DE - do I HAVE to use food grade DE or can I use pool DE? If yes to the food grade DE - why?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Food grade DE will not hurt the chicks. Any other grade may cause issues.
    If they are anything like my chickens they will make their own dust bath if they want an extra one.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a split level coop; the top level has a"loft" that has wire flooring where the nest boxes are and the bottom level sits on the ground.

    Um, be aware that nest boxes are meant only for laying eggs in, and should have cushiony *bedding* in them -- a wire floor is what you'd (maybe, in a warm climate) want where the chickens will SLEEP. They will indeed probably sleep up there as they prefer to roost in the highest area available. But you may therefore need to put proper nestboxes (for egg-laying, with shavings or whatever in them for cushioning) elsewhere in the coop.

    At the moment my chicks are one week old and I put them in the coop during the day to play. They are only on the bottom level and that level (as it sits directly on the ground) has a gravel floor. Now, I know they will need an area to dust bath in and I do have a box that I was going to put down with old grass clippings, dirt, etc; but do I need to clear an area that has gravel as well? I would prefer not to clear the gravel, but will walking on gravel all the time hurt the girls eventually?

    As long as the gravel is reasonably smoothish not real pointy, it is fine for them. I assure you that when they are old enough to care about dustbathing they will dig a hole through your gravel layer down to dust and dirt, and use that (unless the gravel is like a foot deep or something). I really wouldn't worry about it, personally. Also, will they have additional outdoor run area once they are older/larger? (Hopefully yes, as having only an area equal to the *indoor* part of the coop is really quite crowded, unless you have a palatially-huge coop for the number of chickens you've got.

    My second ? is about DE - do I HAVE to use food grade DE or can I use pool DE? If yes to the food grade DE - why

    If you are going to use DE at all, it would be better to use food grade DE as it is not particularly harmful to bird (or human) lungs, except insofar as *any* mineral dust is not good to be breathing a whole lot of. The pool-filter type is a known human carcinogen with high or chronic exposure, and is also more irritating to lungs/eyes/skin.

    You do not however *have* to use DE at all. There are one or two things that maybe sometimes it is kind of useful for, but BY NO MEANS is it necessary in order to raise happy healthy poultry. And it certainly doesn't need to be flung around as an attempted bandaid cure for every little thing, most of which it probably does nothing for (or not as much as a *proper* fix anyhow) [​IMG] So if you cannot get food-grade DE I would really not worry about it.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  4. amcstay

    amcstay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks all!

    Pat- the wire area is just wire right now, but once they are getting ready to lay I will actually add the boxes and put either shavings or cut grass in there. And yes, they will have a large fenced in area once they are a little older to free range in. It has fallen trees, bushes, tons of dirt, etc... and will be about 10ft x 30ft if not larger - just depends how motivated I am in when I start fencing [​IMG]

    Will not be using pool DE! Just wanted to know if I could/should use it and you answered my question.

    Thanks again!
     

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