Help! Coop floor - deep litter or brick? And is pressure treated wood safe?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by slou, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. slou

    slou Chirping

    35
    5
    94
    Aug 16, 2009
    I'm in the middle of building a new coop (the Heather Bullard design) and have a question about the "ground floor". There is an elevated nesting and laying area, but then a larger screened in area they can go out into where the food and water will be. The entire coop with be enclosed in a bigger run that will be 2/3 brick patio and 1/3 dirt.
    What would be best for the floor of the screened-in coop area where the food and water will be? (and I need to make this decision in the next couple of days, so any help is much appreciated!)
    My chickens have always had an all-dirt run to scratch and take dirt baths in, but the new design has a brick patio outside the enclosed coop area so I can easily spray it off and not get poop on shoes when we go in and out. That means they will have only 1/3 of the dirt area they used to have to play in. So for the interior screen area attached to the coop I could use the deep litter method where you dig 12 inches down and then keep adding green/garden waste weekly (so it only has to be cleaned 1x/year) or brick, which means spraying it off to clean it all the time.
    Does anyone have experience with what works better? Also, is pressure treated wood safe for the enclosure?
    Thank you!!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    27,610
    26,170
    917
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    Do you have good drainage? Why are you planning to dig down 12" if you use DL? I would make sure that the run is tall enough that the 6 - 12" (possibly more, but 6-12 is a good ball park) will not be an issue for head space in the run. If you dig down before starting your DL, you may run into drainage issues.

    I am not familiar with Heather's coop design. forgive my ignorance. I can tell you that I am sold on DL in the run. My run has a border at ground level made of 2 x 6 lumber. The skirt as well as the fencing are both stapled to the 2 x 6, which acts to help keep the DL in the run. DL works much better if it is directly on top of the soil.
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  3. slou

    slou Chirping

    35
    5
    94
    Aug 16, 2009
    We are building in a drainage pipe for the whole run, so drainage will be good. I read that deep little method needs to be started 12" down - xhttps://www.pinterest.com/pin/270286415109028659/
    Is that not the case? Maybe that's just so it doesn't build up so much?
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    27,610
    26,170
    917
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    That is so not the case. I can not for the life of me figure out why someone would suggest that you excavate the area, unless they did so to lay a skirt down 12" deep. You will need a skirt to keep out digging predators. YOu can either excavate down, and lay it straight down 12" or more. No way would I do so. Heavy rock hard clay here, and what is not heavy clay is rock. Lots and lots of rocks! My skirt is buried under the sod. Since it was a newly cleared area, I simply dug down 4 - 6", laid the skirt out in that area, then back filled with the soil/rocks that I pulled out of that area.

    If you excavate the area 12" deep, you will definitely need to add drainage. And, if your soil is heavy clay, you will be creating a clay basin that will hold all moisture, turning your DL into an anaerobic sewage pit. If the area you are using does not have standing water after a good rain storm, drainage is adequate. The DL can rest directly on top of what ever now covers the area. You might want to put a lumber edging around the run to help contain the DL, but, even that is not necessary. By laying it on top of your existing soil, it will drain better.

    FWIW, I am an advocate of keeping all soil covered, whether it be in the chicken run, or in the garden. Soil is not designed to be bare and exposed to the sun and air. It was created to be covered.
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  5. ScottandSam

    ScottandSam Still learning

    834
    793
    196
    Dec 24, 2016
    Shell Knob, Missouri
    If you dig 12" down that will want to collect water. I run a DLM. on the plywood floor in our hen house. I used 2x10 treated to keep the DLM from falling out the doors and into the nesting box. Our experience free ranging our flock is there feed is kept on the only concrete slab on the property. and the do go on it once a day. Otherwise they are in the dirt any where and everywhere else.
    Scott
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: