My coop....any ideas on how to improve it?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sonya, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. Sonya

    Sonya Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Prague, Oklahoma
    We built our coop two years ago when I got my first chicks. I didn't use any plans, just thought of what I wanted and gave it a go. After reading this forum, I wish I'd done some thing differently, but we might be able to fix some of our problems.

    The coop itself is built right on the ground, no flooring at all. The coop is about 8 feet wide and it's 4 foot tall in the back and 6 feet tall in the front, with corrugated plastic for the roof. The walls are all made of plywood and 2x4s. Attached to the coop is a run that is 6 foot tall and 12 foot long and 8 foot wide. It is covered with poultry wire on all sides and top with a door at the end. The run is all dirt now since the chickens have been there for two years. On the outside it is painted a barn red and the plastic roof is white and all the 2x4's are painted white on the run.

    My problem is that when it rains, the run is pure mud. And in the spring when it *really* rains, the rain floods into the coop too and makes it all muddy. We are planning on putting a french drain behind the coop so the water that runs off the roof isn't going right behind the coop and then into it. And I'm seriously thinking of framing in a floor of plywood so that they are up off the ground. We've put pine shavings in the coop in the winter, but it just gets ground into the dirt and becomes a permanent part of the ground floor.

    I'm just not sure of how sanitary it is for the birds to be mucking around in the mud and dirt 24/7. They have a roost to sit on at night in the coop and some milk crates are in there too that they climb around on. I had some nice nesting boxes made for them, but they just layed the eggs on the ground and ignored the nests...that's why I put the milk crates in there on the ground, hoping to give them some place to maybe start nesting.

    I want to make their home nice and comfy....sigh. I have only three hens now and two pekin ducks in the coop/run...and a plastic kiddie pool in the run for the ducks.

    Any suggestions on how to make it better for the birds...I'm hoping to get some more chicks in the next couple of weeks and adding them to the flock when they are old enough.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Directing the water off the roof and away from the coop/run is big. You may be surprised how little rain and roof area it takes to fill a water barrel. Gutters and a downspout could help a lot, depending on your terrain. Trenching, french drains, whatever to take the water away. Also, consider trenching around the coop/run to keep runoff from flowing into them. You might cover part or all of your run to keep rain out. Whatever you need to do to keep water out.

    As to the floor of the coop, don't create a hiding place for rats/mice/vermin under the coop. I'd consider putting a couple of inches of dirt, sand preferred but clay would work, and cover it with marine plywood. This raises the plywood above the water line and will help it last longer. The plywood would make it easier to remove the poop.

    In the run, if you add sand or gravel to mud, the sand or gravel will just disappear into the mud. It is a dry season project, but when the run has dried out, put a layer of small gravel or pea gravel, topped with two or three inches of sand.

    The area around waterers and the kiddie pool can get wet. Consider putting them up on a layer of gravel and use a french drain to get the water out of the run.

    Just a few suggestions. Good luck!
     
  3. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I absolutely agree about not putting in a raised plywood floor. Mice will move right in. You can always put in a brick floor laid directly on the dirt with sand swept between the bricks.

    You can put corrugated panels over your run to keep the rain out and it will stay much drier. Use the clear or translucent ones if you need more sun and the opaque or metal ones if you need more shade.



    Chel
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    What they said [​IMG]

    First, get as much water as possible to go elsewhere.

    Then, to whatever extent a problem remains, raise the coop and run by adding gravel or whatever til they are distinctly abovegrade.

    If you happen to have a number of large pavers or the like sitting around, you can actually use *those* to raise the coop floor a bit (I would not use them in the run, as they will prevent the chickens from scratching around and impede drainage). Level the ground in the coop, using firmly-tamped sand or screenings as needed, then lay a couple layers of closely-fit pavers on top. I say 'a couple layers' and 'closely fit' because it is really important that mice not be encouraged to live underneath the pavers and pop up to snack in the coop.

    But if you don't happen to have extra pavers around, I'd just try to limp along til summer (using band-aid type fixes such as a layer of very coarse mulch type material to raise chickens up above water level) and then get a good sized dump load of screenings and use them.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     

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