Hybrid Carolina Coop Cali & Chez Poulet

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BYChaymarket

Chirping
May 11, 2022
30
51
86
Los Angeles, CA
My Coop
My Coop
Hello All!

Thought I would post some of my build in case it’s helpful to others planning a build. The information others have shared has been very for helpful for me along the way.

The design I came up with is one that combines the Cali coop with the external storage and nesting box of the Chez Poulet.

My run is 4x12 with a 4x4 hen house, excluding the storage cabinet. I have 6 chickens who are about 10 weeks old and will (hopefully) be moving into the new coop soon.

I put a layer of non-woven landscape cloth on the ground and will be using a combination of construction sand and pea gravel in the run. My hope is that their poo will dry out quickly and make it easy to scoop out infrequently.
 

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Nice job so far.
I think you may regret putting the 2x4 wire on the floor. A 2 ft predator apron would have been much better. Chickens DIG. They will hit that wire and they may injure their feet.
Also, the sand/pea gravel combination is going to be a huge mess. If you wanted to scoop, it should have been just sand. If you wanted low maintenance and never had to scoop at all, it should have been dry organic matter like wood chips. Wood chips drain well and help to slowly compost the poop load, the chickens love scratching around in it and dust bathing in it. The only time you would ever want to remove anything from the run is when you wanted to harvest some of the compost. I've been using my setup for over 3 years now and I've yet to remove a thing.
The sand / pea stone combination is going to prevent you from being able to completely remove the poop from the run so it will sift down through to the landscape fabric and when it rains it's going to get wet and it's going to stink to high heaven.
Make sure to leave lots of ventilation up on the top of the walls especially on the wall common to the run when you finish up that part.
 
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Thank you, @DobieLover - I appreciate you reviewing this and giving you input. I wish I had posted sooner!

I hope you and other could provide more feedback so that I can make changes now, if needed.

1. Sand in the run
My goal is (i) to not have smell or flies, since to coop is relatively near my house and my neighbor, and (ii) to not scoop or clean the run at all, if possible. I am in southern California and get very very little rain (like 2 weeks of rain per year) and I changed my sprinklers so that they do not hit the coop/run. Also, I want the option to keep them in the coop most all the time since we have predators, such as coyotes, that will come down from the mountains and scoop up small dogs, etc.

The information I found in BYC and the internet was that sand was the way to go because the poop would dry quickly, the chickens could still dig around, and they would get grit. I originally thought I might not have to scoop at all using sand.

I chose construction sand and pea gravel to provide varying texture, which would prevent compaction. I also put the non-woven landscape fabric at the bottom so that the water would drain down through the fabric and into the ground, while the fabric would also prevent dirt from migrating upward and mixing with the sand. The coop and run will eventually have a full shingled roof. All of this with the expectation that the run would stay dry or dry out quickly and prevent/reduce smell and flies.

I do not have anything against the natural process of composting (I maintain a compost bin for use around my garden), and I probably would have pursued that method if the coop was much further away from my house. However, it seemed that people using a dry organic matter like wood chips still need to clean out the run, have smell from the ammonia.

Please let me know if you still think that sand is not the material to use in view of my goals (no smell/flies, no scooping) and my setup (landscape fabric, constructions sand, little to no rain in a run with a roof)

2. Wire run floor
The 2X3 chicken wire on the run floor
The area around the coop has some tree roots and is elevated along one side, so I put the 2x3 wire underneath and extending about 16 inches around the perimeter. My thought was that the depth of the material in the run (e.g., sand) is almost 6 inches deep and the chickens would not be digging that deep.

Please let me know if you think chickens would dig 6 inches deep. If yes, could they still injure themselves after digging 6 inches and hitting the wire.

3. Ventilation
The hen house portion will have windows on three sides: (i) the north wall common to the run will have a 3.5x1 foot hinged window; (iii) the west exterior wall will have a 3.5x1 foot hinged window; and the east access doors will have a two 1x1 foot hinged windows. Additionally, the space between the rafter ends will left open and I intend to include some type of ridge opening (either a cupola or a ridge vent).

I hope that was not too much information but I would like to get as much feedback from members as possible before I proceed with my build.

Thank you all for any help or advice you may provide!

As background, so that anyone can see the general design for the roof, ventilation windows, and storage are, I am providing links to the (i) California Coop, and (ii) Chez Poulet.
 
However, it seemed that people using a dry organic matter like wood chips still need to clean out the run, have smell from the ammonia.
I use wood chips in my run. It absolutely does not smell. As I mentioned earlier, I have yet to clean anything out. The microbes in the soil and on the wood decompose the poop load. The chickens dig holes all over in there looking for goodies and making dust bath sites.
Flock in run.jpg

I will admit that they spend a fairly large portion of their time out in their pen but they are generally locked into the coop/run setup for a total of about 1.5-2 months a year during winter. They do like to go in there and hang out on the perches when the door to the pen is open.
I don't think that the poop load is going to decompose quickly enough in a sand/pea gravel mixture to be stink free. I think that sand is meant to be sifted. But I don't and won't use it so I don't have any experience with it. All the sand I've ever used in our area is dusty.
is almost 6 inches deep and the chickens would not be digging that deep.
They will. Everywhere! I've nearly twisted my ankle walking into the pen that houses my chickens' setup. They have made a healthy portion of the landscape look like the surface of the moon with all the craters they've dug.
They also will pile up run litter so it is very much thicker in places while they work on digging deeper and deeper going after critters or making large holes with damp soil to lounge in during the heat of the day.

It sounds like you have ventilation well under control! You just can't have too much IMO.
 
Thank you for the information!
I am going to pull out the wire from the run and fill with wood chips and other compostable materials/textures, as suggested. I’ll also see if I can extend the wire apron further out around the run.

Now to figure out what to do with 18 cubic feet of sand and a pallet of pea gravel :rolleyes:
 
Just a quick update.
I removed the landscape fabric and wire mesh from the run floor to expose the ground, which I will fill wood chips, pine needles, etc., and hopefully achieve an active compost system over time.

Most of the wire mesh is installed on the walls, the doors are getting mounted,
and roof is partially done.

Stay tuned for more updates soon!
 

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