Hmmm, questions about Playhouse coop design and french drain!!?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wink, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Wink

    Wink Songster

    Aug 24, 2010
    I'm conducting the prep work for our spring yes, I'm completely new at this...

    I'm interested in the Playhouse coop design. I've read about other people incorporating a french drain.....since the majority of the coop (the run area) will be in predominantly in the wooded area behind our house, we were thinking about using hardware cloth on the whole floor of the run (prevent digging predators, etc). I just want to clarify: gravel first, hardware cloth, weed cloth, then sand on top? How much sand? I don't want them to be raking their feet across the wire....

    Secondly, if the whole coop is enclosed in hardware cloth, do I really need to lock them up at night within the coop itself? Or can they use their run at night if they choose to?

    I'll have more questions as time progresses.... thanks!
  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I'd figure 3 inches of sand at a minimum. Don't forget to put a board at least this wide on the side of the run to contain the sand or it will just seep out through the hardware cloth. The other way to approach digging predators, of course, is to build and apron/skirt of wire flat on the ground outwards from the perimeter of the run. That way you don't have to dig or otherwise mess with the surface inside the run (just put down your sand). That's the method I use because we have clay soil and digging in it is an awful chore.

    Chickens generally like to roost someplace up high at night, so unless you have roosts in the run I don't think they will want to hang out there after dark. Some people like to leave the pop door open so they don't have to go and let the chickens out early in the morning.

    If you're confident about the security of your run, the spacing of the wire, the door to the run, etc., you can leave the pop door open, but it won't be quite as safe as having them locked in a solid coop. For one thing, the coop hides them visually from predators.

    p.s. Welcome to the forum!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  3. BWKatz

    BWKatz Songster

    May 22, 2010
    Predators are also drawn by the scent. I'd close them up.
  4. BankerJohn

    BankerJohn Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Lecanto, Florida
    for the floor, wire cloth on bottom, then rock, then landscape cloth then sand. For the sand, you will want a good 3-4". Any digging predator will hit the cloth and try to penetrate in another spot. As long as there is hardware cloth, nothing should get through.

    Best of luck! My girls are starting to lay regularly... we are getting either 1,2 or 3 eggs per day. Last 3 days it has been 2 per day! I have noticed a LOT more coon tracks around the coop in the last week since they started laying regularly.
  5. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    Welcome from MN! I just dug in our 2x10s but stayed above grade on the downhill side and less on the uphill side, put coated chicken wire at the bottom (wish it had been hardware cloth) and then sand 4-6 inches on top. I layed a 12 inch apron over landscape fabric around the outside held in by plastic edging, with pea gravel on top for the french drain. I highly recommend the pea gravel as it can take a lot of rain and not splash into the run very much. You can see pics on my byc page. If I ever notice that anything has tried to dig, I'll extend the apron and put heavy rock down. I don't close up the coop at night so the girls can eat breakfast before I come out in the morning.

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