How to reinforce a wood coop floor? Plus new question about vents?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by shelleyd2008, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Adair Co., KY
    Is it even necessary? I'll be making my 'coop' starting this week, and we have a lot of rats. I'm not quite sure how to reinforce it so they can't get in. Do I put wire along the bottom part of the walls, then on the floor as well? Or is just the wood enough? I'm using OSB board for most of it.

    ETA: If I do need to use wire to reinforce it, how high up the walls and how far on the floor should it be?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Shelley, when my hubby renovated a shed to make it into a coop, the floor was solid as anything! But for whatever reason, he also put down a layer of hardware cloth. But we've never seen any evidence of something trying to get in.

    I suppose if a predator were determined enough, they could over time chew their way through wood...
     
  3. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    I have a THICK layer of exterior plywood. The first layer was 1/4" and flimsy. When we doubled the coop size, we put down another 1/2" or so of more plywood on the existing side and then had to double up the new stuff to match. It was expensive, but well worth it.

    If you have a smaller (chicken only) sized coop, I think OSB would be just fine. My holds a lot of birds/weight/and ME! LOL

    Oh and I also stained/sealed it before I put chickens in. And let it dry for a day.

    I wanted to put down vinyl (linoleum ) but hubby was concerned about the "seams" and stuff...so I just went wood with the stain/sealer on it.

    Hubby working on the new part of the floor:
    [​IMG]
    making more progress;
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2009
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Quote:Have you had any problems with rodents chewing their way in? That's what I'm most concerned about. The floor is 3/4" OSB, and will have 2x6s spaced 2 foot, so I think it will be strong enough weight-wise.

    But we have a LOT of rats here, I'm wondering if just the wood floor would be sufficient? Probably not (to keep rats/mice out), and wasn't sure how to reinforce it against them.

    ETA: I have also thought about getting linoleum for the floors, I was thinking of getting a big piece (not sure what size it comes in?) to cover the whole floor, no seams that way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  5. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Quote:So he put hardware cloth over the entire floor? Hmmmm [​IMG] that would be a big expense, not sure if I can afford that [​IMG]
     
  6. Rare Feathers Farm

    Rare Feathers Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Have you had any problems with rodents chewing their way in? That's what I'm most concerned about. The floor is 3/4" OSB, and will have 2x6s spaced 2 foot, so I think it will be strong enough weight-wise.

    But we have a LOT of rats here, I'm wondering if just the wood floor would be sufficient? Probably not (to keep rats/mice out), and wasn't sure how to reinforce it against them.

    ETA: I have also thought about getting linoleum for the floors, I was thinking of getting a big piece (not sure what size it comes in?) to cover the whole floor, no seams that way.

    No, no rodent issues at all....
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you know you have rats, I think it is quite intelligent to be serious about ratproofing in the design/build stage. Rats can and will gnaw through wood with ease, and since yer floor is wood, you can't stop 'em just by plugging up ratholes individually once they start.

    Your best bet would be a crack-free concrete slab, but of course that is probably not an option [​IMG] -- the next best bet is to have your coop raised up 18" above the ground (so the rats do not feel so secure and snug and hidden under there, and are thus less apt to take up residence or spend lotsa time down there gnawing their way in) and cover the underside of the floor with hardwarecloth. It is a little pricey but only has to be done ONCE, and is really pretty effective.

    If you have lots of wide steel or aluminum flashing lying around, that is another good ratproofing material.

    If you're not going to put some metal product over the whole floor to ratproof, I'd suggest making sure the coop is well raised up (as described above) and keeping a *sharp* eye out for any problems developing. It is much harder to retrofit ratproofing than to build it in during construction, though.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  8. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Quote:We definitely have a rat problem, I hear them just about everynight under the bathroom sink fighting over the poison! It seems to come in droves, last year was mice, year before it was ladybugs, this year it's rats. [​IMG]

    I was going to put it on concrete blocks, but from what you say, it will probably need to be higher? So like 2 blocks high? My dad's dog is a good 'ratter', so as long as she can get under it, it should be okay.

    And by 'cover the underside of the floor with hardwarecloth', do you mean on the outside, underneath? We also have tin (?) that is used for siding/roofing, is that what you mean on the 'wide steel or aluminum flashing'? How would I put that on, underneath as well?

    Oh, and just an FYI, I read on an exterminator's website yesterday that rats can chew through concrete as well, so idk if the concrete slab would really work [​IMG]
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I was going to put it on concrete blocks, but from what you say, it will probably need to be higher? So like 2 blocks high? My dad's dog is a good 'ratter', so as long as she can get under it, it should be okay.

    Oh, well, if you have a good rat terrier or similar, then clearance under there is somewhat less of an issue -- at least as long as the dog can get under there they won't *live* there. You still want to make it as high as you can (without creating structural or tipping-over problems!) so that rats feel exposed and out-in-the-open under there, rather than feeling concealed enough to sit and gnaw a while.

    And by 'cover the underside of the floor with hardwarecloth', do you mean on the outside, underneath? We also have tin (?) that is used for siding/roofing, is that what you mean on the 'wide steel or aluminum flashing'? How would I put that on, underneath as well?

    There are lots of ways of doing it; I can tell you what I've seen done that's worked reasonably well, but by no means do I know enough about rats to have a Very Best Solution to recommend. (Other than a concrete slab. Yes, big scary 'city rats' occasionally enlarge holes/cracks in concrete by chewing, but this is not something you usually have to worry about in the normal world [​IMG])

    One thing I've seen done that's worked well in a tackroom was to take up the flooring and put hardwarecloth down and then replace the flooring, so that the hardwarecloth was sandwiched between the joists and the plywood. It doesn't give you as good a joint between plywood and joists, obviously, but that plus a flashing-covered ratproof sill on the doorway succeeded in keeping rats out of a tackroom that had had an ongoing problem. Or you can put it on the undersides of the joists, but if you are going to want a dog going under there to chase rats that would significantly decrease his headspace so I'm not sure whether it would be the most appropriate for your particular situation.

    I've seen it work to tack wide steel flashing (aluminum would probably work too) all around the bottom chewable portions of a wooden grain bin, and around the chewable portions where the lid closes. You could do this with a floor, if you had sufficient amounts of wide flashing lying around, in the same way as the hardwarecloth described above. If you were retrofitting an existing coop, and it was high enough for you to get under, you could probably run flashing along the strips of exposed floor (the underside) between joists, preferably bending the flashing to go a few inches down the sides of the joists too.

    I've also seen rat damage covered up, and further rat damage mostly prevented, by putting flashing around the bottom edges of walls where rats were chewing their way in.

    I do not think you could substitute metal roofing for the flashing in the above scenarios, because it is ribbed. however there may be a way to adapt it to your needs, if you think about it.

    The other two things that really helps are to a) clear ALL WEEDS, BRUSH AND TRASH (and I really mean *all*) away from the coop and other buildings for a distance of ten feet or more. Even just a *little* bit of cover really attracts the rats. And b) no food in the chicken run -- keep their feeder indoors, and if you feed them kitchen/garden scraps, feed them in the coop unless you are positive the chickens will clean it all up by evening.

    Good luck, rats really suck,

    Pat​
     
  10. niallliam

    niallliam Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Have you had any problems with rodents chewing their way in? That's what I'm most concerned about. The floor is 3/4" OSB, and will have 2x6s spaced 2 foot, so I think it will be strong enough weight-wise.

    But we have a LOT of rats here, I'm wondering if just the wood floor would be sufficient? Probably not (to keep rats/mice out), and wasn't sure how to reinforce it against them.

    ETA: I have also thought about getting linoleum for the floors, I was thinking of getting a big piece (not sure what size it comes in?) to cover the whole floor, no seams that way.

    Get yourself a few cats. A firm believer in making your home a stressful environment for rats/mice!
     

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