I have to ask

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by darkmatter, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What's up with all the Coop designs and pictures of people's Coops with them raised on stilts?

    My Coop was built 20+ years ago on a brick foundation with the deep litter composting pit/dirt floor inherent in the design. I read up and planned my coop in B.C. (before computers) and most of my research was from sources like Mother Earth News and Rodales publications of Organic Gardening fame. Growing up around Kansas/Missouri farm land, I never saw a chicken coop that didn't have a dirt floor. During my research I did read some of the Agriculture extensions publications that recommended a concrete floor, but that was intended for commercial production with skid loaders to clean it out between batches of chickens. The deep litter composting pit was a method that had been in use for centuries by European farmers for livestock/barn management. Some of the ideas I incorporated from my readings was to have mulberry trees in the chicken yard and to make sure all the wood portion of my coop was above the soil line with a roof overhang all four sides for weathering duration. I also used a rainwater collection system and orientated the windows to maximize winter sunlight with trees for summer shade. To this day I do not have water or electricity run to the coop and see no reason to change. See my BYC page for pics of my setup.

    I have seen some of my urban friends with the Artsy Craftsy coops on stilts have their chickens freeze to death during the first winter. Now a chicken tractor on wheels makes sense to me for summer use raising meaties, but why do so many people have coop floors that need constant cleaning? (and don't get me started on the stupid concept of poop boards)

    So, if you have a coop on stilts---why? Did you not know of options? What research lead you to that concept? What's the advantage of a raised coop?
     
  2. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I myself have wondered the same thing-I purchased my first coop from a local Amish builder and it's raised...but I am planning on building another one myself and have no plans to elevate it. I have wondered if the purpose for the "stilt" style was to provide a shaded area...
     
  3. catsew

    catsew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Right. I put mine up so they could go underneath it for shade. Although we put it in a different location and they have shade from trees now. We also get 4 feet of snow in the winter, so if it was on the ground it would be buried in snow.
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    It provides shade and shelter from the rain. Kinda a simple concept. With enough wood shavings it's still insulated in winter, we built ours to hold four inches. With a dirt floor you have to dig and place a barrier of some kind to stop digging predators like weasels from getting in.
     
  5. emrys

    emrys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In a very warm climate the raised coop provides a cool, dry space underneath. Lows are rarely even in the teens so chickens freezing in the raised coop isn't an issue.
    The ground in my pen is quite flat and during a heavy rain, water will collect and stand for an hour or two. A coop on the ground would flood, rot, stink and generally be unacceptable. Your situation is different. You have different issues to address. My home is raised. My coop is raised. It works
     
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    My coop is raised because of the location: the soil has a drainage issue. This was the only area my hubby and I agreed upon. The coop has shade trees nearby in the summer and plenty of winter warmth when the leaves are gone. The winter winds are diverted by the barn. But we do live in South Carolina so we don't deal with sub-zero winters.

    And as for cleaning, the wooden-slat floor is covered with a tarp. I simply roll it up, drag it into the woods, unroll it and drag the tarp until it's free of poop and shavings. My chickens refuse to use a roost since the top of the nesting boxes are more comfortable for them. I did try putting a slanted board over the boxes but ended up with broken leg on a pullet. So I let them roost there and spend an extra 15 minutes or so a week shoving the poop off with a snow shovel.

    And I think I know why the birds didn't want to use the roost. The board was higher than the nesting boxes and thus closer to the ceiling which was metal. The heat coming off the metal was too much for the birds.

    And the broken-legged pullet healed fine with a duct tape bandage.
     
  7. hennyannie

    hennyannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    North Carolina
    We built ours on logs skids so that when the area gets messy we can pick it up with the tractor and move it to a new location.
    Also we can move it to an area that has grass.It's 8x10 ft. so it's not really a tractor in that we only move it a couple times a
    year.The area the chickens clear makes a great garden area the following year.Mine has a wood floor with mats and litter.
     
  8. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am one of those who have a raised coop and will try to explain my reasoning for you. Originally I think the idea of a raised coop was for the smaller sized coop (talking dog house size) to make it easier to clean and retreive eggs. But here are my reasons in no particular order.

    1. My coop is 8x8 shed style and on 2ft legs,having it raised increased the run area by 64sq ft.

    2. It gives them somewhere out of the weather. Currently enduring Irene. But shade and shelter out the rain and snow.

    3. Also gives them a place to duck under in case of an aerial attack.

    4.Raising it also keeps anything from burrowing underneath the coop. Either to make a home or gain entry into the chickens or eggs. With fox,coyote,raccoons,fishers,weasels,skunks and other woodland creatures as well as detering mice and rats(although never saw one around my yard).

    5. Having it on the ground I feel that it would be a bug infestation of all kinds. Earwigs, sow bugs,ants,termites and ones I cant identify. There are some who make their way in when its raised but think its way less than if it were lower. Spiders have set up shop but dont mind them as they help with fly control and what ever else may find its way in.

    Hope I have shown you the raised peoples thought process. I'm sure there are other reasons as well from other peeps.

    6. The girls love to dust bath under it and just lounge around.

    7. Your concern about it getting to cold in the coop,with DLM of about 4" it stays pretty cozy in there even in 20 degree weather,not saying its the tropics but its above freezing.

    Like you I have windows on three sides,2 facing south and west for winter sun as well as a country door with a screen upper half. I dont dont have electricity or water in the coop,although the hose is not far away near the garden. I change the shavings about two times a year pending how much poop and how far along the shavings are broken down.
     
  9. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, Well, to reply to DarkMatter as to way people build raised coops I will just say this. Evidently lots of people here on BYC have built raised coops for one reason or another. I for one did do my research, looked at hundreds of design ideas, talked to long time chickens farmers, etc. .....and decided that a raised coop was ideal for me. Enough said. And yes, I like the "Stupid concept" of the poop board or tray set up. I like to keep my hen house very clean for the well being of my chickens and quality of eggs,. The poop trays make that easier. Enough said. This is my opinion and love the fact that on this site so many people share their opinion and help one another.
    Erik
     
  10. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lake Placid, FL
    Everything that duckinut said and more. I would not ever have a coop on the ground as, in my opinion, a raised coop has many more advantages and no disadvantages



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