Flooring question? Didn't want to piggy-back.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RavenStorm, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. RavenStorm

    RavenStorm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alright so the only available spot I can legally build my coop and run due to municipal codes for my location is completely concrete. I cannot free-range my chickens at all because of the animal laws in our area concerning chickens and a heavy predator bird population in the area. That doesn't matter anyway because my entire backyard aside from a small planting box is concrete anyway. I am planning on building an elevated coop with wood floors covered in linoleum and then topped with pine shavings.

    My question is for the run: even with roosts, will living their lives on concrete be bad for my chickens feet? Do I need to put anything down in the run (keeping in mind that at night it gets very windy in my area, so sand/pine shavings/etc. will be blown away)?

    I am planning on sealing the concrete, building an outdoor dropping box with roosts, and setting up an artificial dust bath bathtub. Is this enough?
     
  2. tx_dane_mom

    tx_dane_mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2007
    SE Texas
    Someone might have someone to say for/against it, but I'd think of trying cat litter (clay based kind) or evey Stall Dry. This will help absorb their waste, and give them some texture for their feet. They need something besides the concrete, yes, b/c their toes need to be able to grip/scratch at something.
    HTH,
    Kristi
     
  3. PAChickenChick

    PAChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Man, sounds like you live in a really strict town. [​IMG]
    Here's a thought to help your ladies get some fresh greens....
    maybe you can grow medium sized containers of grass and such. Then you would be able to put one or two in the run each day. Hopefully if you are cycling them out they won't get entirely eaten and then you can just keep the grass growing. I'm sure your town can't say you can grow plants in containers. If you get bigger shallow ones you could add some worms or something too (and bugs would naturally get in them anyway) and then your chickens could scratch a bit too. I'm thinking something like a baby pool or something.

    And are you able to do something like an Astro turf? Cause if you are, you could cover some of the run with that..and then you could hose it off when you have to clean it.

    Just thoughts...and they're coming at 6am so forgive me if they are a bit bizzare....haven't been to bed yet [​IMG]
     
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    My question is for the run: even with roosts, will living their lives on concrete be bad for my chickens feet? Do I need to put anything down in the run (keeping in mind that at night it gets very windy in my area, so sand/pine shavings/etc. will be blown away)?

    Sand is your friend here. Concrete is one of the worst materials you can use, as it is cold when not wanted and hot the rest of the time. It is an extravagance not well suited to chickens. Cover it with 3-4" of clean sand and keep it raked weekly. Toss some straw or deep mulch here and there as you see fit, once you get going. Ensure above all else that the concrete affords good drainage. If it gets windy, erect wind breaks.

    I am planning on sealing the concrete, building an outdoor dropping box with roosts, and setting up an artificial dust bath bathtub. Is this enough?

    Here are a few thoughts, inspired by the simple plans of the past...

    Since you are essentially making a paddock enclosure, follow this plan. In the paddock, erect well suited planting beds to grow the essential greens that chickens should have, and to add veggies for your table. Fence these beds to keep the chickens out until the plants get up.

    Make the house shed roofed, open fronted and add nests and roosts inside. Make it like this:

    "These houses are eight feet square, five feet high behind, and seven and one-half feet high at the comb, open front to the east, over which is a three-foot projection to keep out rain and under which the attendant walks to care for fowls. On one side of the pen is the feed hopper built into the wall, holding one sack of dry mash and one of mixed grains in its respective compartments.

    Along the outside install a green feed trough from which the hens eat their green feed, and hang water buckets also on the outside. Thus all the hens are fed greens and watered without opening a single gate or door. The hoppers inside are filled once in about two weeks.

    The dropping boards and ground floor are cleaned once per week by simply raking the filth from the top of the sand which covers the boards and floors. Sand is the only material to use on the floors of poultry houses." - - Chas Weeks.

    Add nests and roosts along one side, dropping boards below the roosts. Neither needs to be more than 3 ft from the floor.

    If you live where winter climates are harsh, build a screen wall for the front. Make it of a sturdy 1"-2" frame, covered on both sides by a tarp or other UV and waterproof covering. Hang this screen tightly on the open front of the coop, but removable for cleaning out the interior once a week or so.
    Add a side door for entering and ensure you are insulated and remmebr to always include good ventilation, even in the winter...​
     
  5. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm assuming you're on a smaller lot and need to keep your coop a certain amount of feet from the property line....
    If this were me, I'd build a run that resembles a large planter box. 2" of large gravel for drainage on the bottom, and about six to eight inches of soil above that. This would need some upkeep, as the hens will want to scratch down to China [​IMG], but I"m thinking would be much nicer on the chickens' feet. Plus the bonus of fertilizer in the dirt.

    Carla
     
  6. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    vermont
    Quote:this is a great idea, except that i'd probably build a "raised bed" type box and staple wire to the underside, then fill it with dirt. this allows you to actually use the compost material inside the box without having bits of gravel in it. the worry with this system would be moisture draining onto your concrete pad, though, and then running downhill. you'd have that problem with gravel or without.

    concrete, that's a tough one.
     
  7. RavenStorm

    RavenStorm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2008
    Southern CA
    Quote:Yeah, I didn't think it would be such a problem but from what everyone has told me so far on this board it's something serious.

    Sadly, the majority of what all of you have suggested is just going to be way out of my budget. I so like the idea of building them their own planting box that will grow some greens for them, maybe I can pick up one of those cheap solid plastic little kid wading pools. I would fill it with free dirt that I can get from the construction site down the street and grown plants in it for the girls. Maybe then I wouldn't need to provide and artificial dust bath. If I can, I'll try to pick up some sand and gravel for the other spots in the run, but there is no way I will be able to afford to fill the whole thing with either of them.

    I live in a very suburban area, so yes the rules are strict about keeping animals. I can also only have 5 hens legally, so my coop really doesn't need to be huge and even in winter the weather is warm so they will be outside the vast majority of the time.

    Once again, sand probably won't be a good option because even with wind breaks half of it will blow away each night, so I will probably have to go with a heavier gravel.
     
  8. PAChickenChick

    PAChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok..so I got some crazy "no-sleep" ideas again....

    I feel for ya about the high winds blowing everything away....how about this...
    everyone here says chickens can roost on 2x4's on the 4 inch side so maybe you can make a wooden floor for them to stand on....about 2 or 3 inches off the concrete....
    using 1x4 planks with about an inch or half inch between them all the way across the length of your run. It's not ideal but it would not be as hot as concrete, the chickens toes would be able to bend alittle instead of being flat all the time, you could hose it off to clean it (if it's coated with an exterior stain or paint) and since you're using kiddie pools filled with grass they would still get their greens. (you'll have to have a few "green" pools so you can rotate their usage or else the chickens will eat them bare) (and you still will need one for a dust bath because that's how chickens try to keep themselves free of mites...but you could take that out of the run and cover it too..cause they won't need it everyday.)

    oh and I'm building my coop with wood I got from breaking down wooden pallets that stores throw away...maybe you could get your hands on some too and use them for the wood planks to save on some money [​IMG]

    forgive the fuzzy brain...it's sleep deprived [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  9. Paegglvr

    Paegglvr Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2008
    I'm new to chickens... and my run has a dirt floor.

    But, I do have the book "Chickens:Tending a Small-Scale Flock for Pleasure and Profit" by Sue Weaver. In the coop construction section of that book it says concrete is fine.

    Also, this page from the Virginia Tech Co-Op Extension seems to think concrete is good.

    http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheets/10.html
     
  10. RavenStorm

    RavenStorm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2008
    Southern CA
    I was planning on putting up some 2x4s in the form of a droppings box, but once again my budget for all of this is small and I wont be able to do the entire floor of the run like that. I figure that chickens aren't completely stupid, so I hope that if they are not comfortable they will choose to go to that or the kiddie pool/planter.

    Lol, chickens do have some sense of self-preservation, right?

    So for the kiddie pools: if I put dirt in it and grown stuff for them, won't they scratch in that and dust bath in the dirt they scratch up? Wouldn't me rotating a few of those planters be good enough for their dust bathing needs?
     

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