Michigan Coop Floor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PreciousFeather, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. PreciousFeather

    PreciousFeather Just Hatched

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    We are building a new pole barn and attaching a new permanent coop and run to it. What kind of floor should it have? Predators (coyote, fox, weasels, mink and possible cougar sightings) are a concern,,,,,, in addition to bitter cold temperatures and controlling smell. Cement seems too cold here in Michigan, as temps get below freezing on a regular basis, and frequent single digits for days at a time in winter, even below 0 on occasion. The new barn that the coop will be attached to is not an animal barn, rather a wood shop and storage so smell carrying over matters. The plan was to leave it sand, and to bury hardware cloth 18" deep around the coop and run. Any thoughts/suggestions from seasoned chicken owners? Thx
     
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cement for a host of reasons and don't worry about the cold. It should be isolated from the birds by several inches of insulating deep, built up litter. Deep litter will help with any odors too.

    Cement can be cleaned up and cleaned out. Dirt or just about anything else will result in foul (fowl?) buildup over time. It will also help of the floor level is slightly higher than the adjacent dirt outside the barn.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC form a fellow Michigainian!
    Check out the Michigan chat thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697050/michigan-thread-all-are-welcome

    Concrete would work for the coop, especially if you're already having a floor poured for the shop.
    I'd do a raised(24"), insulated wooden floor if I was building new and it suited the site.
    Concrete can create extra condensate moisture and conduct cold.
    I like a 'dry as possible' coop for health and odor control.

    Run should stay dirt...and add a mix of dry plant matter for good break down of poops and thus low odor.
    Make sure both have good drainage, deep roof overhangs, and slope away from coop and shop.

    Many other aspects to research...lots of space and good ventilation.
    18" apron out rather than buried is easier and more effective for digging predators on run.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  4. PreciousFeather

    PreciousFeather Just Hatched

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    Thank you for your input! Forgive me if my questions sound silly, this chicken thing is new to us this spring so we are learning as we go. So it sounds like my assumption that concrete will stink is wrong? Also, are you saying to have the cement poured higher than the dirt outside the barn?
    And are pine shavings available in bulk or do I just keep buying the square bales at Tractor Supply? Our new coop is 11x14,,, how often will I be adding new shavings?
    Thx for the input!
     
  5. PreciousFeather

    PreciousFeather Just Hatched

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    Thx for your reply and the link with information! I'm reading like crazy right now trying to make wise decisions!!! Sounds like you would prefer wood over concrete? Because, yes, we are having cement poured in the rest of the barn, and I can in the coop as well. But if wood is better, we will do that.
    As for the apron of hardware clothe, are you saying don't bury it straight down? But rather bring it straight outwards? I even saw pics of one slightly on an angle? I know for a fact we have coyotes on our property, so whatever I need to do to ensure the chix safety we will do!!! These chickens are our daughters pets, NOT just a farm animal!!!
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you share a photograph of the barn or site where the coop will be?

    Concrete was the traditional chicken house floor of choice for a permanent chicken house. It was concrete first, wood second and dirt (in the coop) last of all. If you go that route, the cement floor should be bedded on gravel, and the surface should be slightly elevated above the level of the adjacent ground. That means the surface will be elevated enough to always drain and if done this way, should stay mostly dry (assuming the shed site is also elevated to drain and the entire site stays dry also).

    I currently live in home built on a solid slab of cement.......the site is flat to the point of being poorly drained..........3 or 4 inches of rain takes forever to run off..........but when they built the home, they bedded it on gravel to the surface level or higher to elevate the slab and poured the cement on top of the gravel bed. The ground adjacent to it can be wet to the point of having standing water, but the top of the slab......floor of the house stays dry.

    Concrete should not stink.......actually less than dirt, sand or most anything else, will not rot and will stop all digging predators from entering, including rats, which tend to build tunnels beneath coops and chicken houses.

    As to warm, it is also imperative that the coop openings face south away from cold north winds in winter, and to take advantage of the winter sun shining in, hopefully through wide open ventilation screens. It will also help if the run is open to the winter sun and protected from cold winter winds. Litter insulates the birds from the cement and the cement from the air.

    On the run, an apron of 1" x 2" - 14 gauge welded wire, laid flat on the ground, with an L bent on to the side where it attaches to the run is what I would use. The upright leg of the L is only 4 to 6 inches. Predators attempt to dig at the joint of the upright, but immediately hit the wire and are stopped cold. If they persist, they tend to move up and down this edge, but never figure out they need to move back 2 feet and start their digging operation out there and tunnel underneath it. The wire laid flat can be covered with gravel, mulch or simply left to allow the grass to grow up through it. I mow over mine. Did so today.

    Edited to include a picture of the apron, plus a picture of a raccoon standing on it. So far, they have not managed to get past it.

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Howard explained it far better than I could have...if you look at his profile he has great pics of the apron on his coop.
    @Howard E What is your climate? No location in your profile.

    I like the raised, insulated, wood floor for several reasons.....mostly because it was what I had to work with and it has worked very well.
    If I had to build a new coop I would do the same if it was feasible for the site.

    I use the bagged, large flake pine shavings from TSC.
    Not sure you can get the same thing in bulk, or where you would store it.

    Starting out in chicken can be overwhelming.
    There's a lot of little details that can make a big difference when planning the coop,
    and a lot of ways to do them, some conflicting but many not necessarily 'wrong'.
    I spent a year reading forums and planning the coop before building anything,
    and am very glad I did.
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    My coop is on an old barn foundation, so the perimeter is dig proof. The floor is old cracked concrete, so I added rubber stall mats to manage moisture and make shoveling it out easier. I use deep litter with baled shavings, and some hay or straw (but not much), and it works great, here in Michigan. You will be able to build it right the first time! If possible, have big hardware cloth covered windows on the south side, and upper vents on the other sides. aart has good links to information about ventilation. Drainage! Make sure your building won't collect water! My coop faces south, and in winter I wrap plastic around the lower six feet of the open walls. Perfect! The upper areas are open to the weather, great ventilation. It's still not stained/ painted, but maybe this month? Mary[​IMG]

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