Help with chick coop

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

  1. TcherDawn

    TcherDawn Granite State Chook

    Jan 30, 2009
    Prescott, AZ
    Situation: I have 4 adult hens and eight almost 2 month old chicks. I have gotten some strong suggestions to keep them separate until the chicks are close to 16 weeks, or at least as big as my hens. Right now I have them segregated in an area under my droppings board, but they are quickly growing out of that. So I have an old Chick N Hutch and Run. I divided my 10' x 20' pea gravel run into half with chicken wire in between, so the chickens will be able to see each other.
    QUESTION: the Chick n Hutch and small covered run will be inside my gravel run, and my husband does not want me to put pine shavings in the Hutch. He says the pine shavings will get all over and into the gravel and make it yuccy and smelly again (before we had gravel we had smelly dirt/mud). But the eight babies will need something to bed down in, right? The chicken hutch floor is bare wire as is the covered run attached to it. My husband wants to put gravel in the hutch and run. I don't like that idea, but what else could I put in it???? If I lined the wire floor with something, would sand be any better???? Straw??? Please help. The chicks need to move and I need to get this ready for them. Thanks in advance for your ideas!! [​IMG] Dawn
    Pic of Chick n Hutch:

  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    First let me make sure I'm understanding correctly then I'll throw in my 2 cents, for what it's worth! He wants to put gravel over the wire flooring? If so, isn't it going to catch the droppings rather then letting them fall through? And it seems it would be harder to clean out then if the floor was covered and a layer of shavings put down. Unless you just hose down the gravel? I think I'm with you in that I don't care for the idea of keeping chickens, or any animal, in an area where they have nothing to walk on but rocks. Pine shavings degrade very quickly so even if some did get into the gravel they won't last long. And yes, sand would work just fine as well if you don't want to mess with shavings. I personally don't care for straw as it's not very absorbent and I don't like seeing bits of it flying all over the yard. If your husband doesn't want the shavings falling thru into the gravel he really won't like all the little straw bits! Good luck, hope you get them moved in and happy!
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Pea gravel is NOT comfy [​IMG] I would line the housing part of the coop with cardboard (on the floor and several inches high on the sides if they're not board) and put bedding in there. Heck, if any falls out it's not that big of a deal to stick a glove on and pick a little bedding up every few days if needed, and the chicks will be more comfortable.
    PS, I just briefly introduced my 12 week old to my hens today, and they did pretty well. Yes, my little "B" hen who is nasty to everyone of the chicken persuasion gave a short chase and peck, but other than that, they did well. I'm going to do supervised inclusion each day for a bit to monitor, but am planning on making her part of the flock by the time she starts clucking instead of peeping...
  4. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    It sounds like DH thinks you are keeping rabbits! No chicken's poo--not even Bantams--is gonna fall through the hardware cloth. A lot of us use sand in our runs. Pea gravel is hard on their feet. Yes, the shavings will make it yucky, but, as above, cardboard works well for young birds. How about putting cardboard UNDER the coop as well, so you can catch anything that does fall through, and dispose of it.
  5. TcherDawn

    TcherDawn Granite State Chook

    Jan 30, 2009
    Prescott, AZ
    Here is another pic of the setup. I just found the shiny metal tray that came with the hutch and I put it in. The tray is covering the black wire floor in the previous picture. So all are in agreement not to put gravel in that tray.
  6. aukuma

    aukuma Songster

    May 26, 2010
    W PA
    I have a chicken hutch (just like yours) and I don't think shavings would work in it over the hardware cloth. I've tried. I think it would be best to put shavings in the metal tray under the wire. This would keep it from being tossed around and make it easy to clean.

    I use a metal scraper to hack the poo that doesnt fit in through the wire. This is pretty easy when you have little ones with little poos. Now, those big girl poos take some work to get through that wire.

    I actually just scrape it off then hose it down, but I don't have to worry about a pile of shavings under the pen.

    I also took the door off and made a skinny ramp for my chicks to give them more room to roam (the door lying down took a lot of space).

    edit: my tray is under my wire....
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  7. kingdr85

    kingdr85 Songster

    May 7, 2008
    Madison-Columbus WI
    I actually put a piece of green outdoor carpeting on mine (the one that looks like grass) and it has worked great!

    The poop dries up right away and I just take the thing out and sweep the poop right off.

  8. TcherDawn

    TcherDawn Granite State Chook

    Jan 30, 2009
    Prescott, AZ
    What about news paper? We have plenty of it. Would whole newspapers lining the tray, if changed every day, work?
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have three of those same chicken hutches. I have used cardboard over the wire, covered with pine shavings before. That got stinky/wet after awhile because of water spillage, and I pulled it all out and buried it.

    What I do now is put the shiny metal tray inside the hutch as you have done, and then pine shavings in it. The shavings DO leak onto the ground around the hutch. And the amount is not minimal, either. Those guys go crazy in there with their scratching!!!

    I have debated about switching to sand, to save money. But I have no experience with sand used as bedding. I suppose if my husband was going to get upset about leakage onto the gravel, if it was me, I would want to put a little sand in there to try it out.

    Oh- I see you have a lot of newspapers. Someone on this message board does use newspapers changed every day with success. Hey, it's free! (And they are too old for spraddle leg.)

    I have some two month old chickens too. They still love to lie on the shavings, not roost at night. You could put a cardboard box inside the hutch with some shavings in it ( a huddle box) for them to be cozy. [​IMG]

    It sounds like you have several options at least- I wish you the best!

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