My Hens Have Wet Feet! Advice, please!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RanchGranny, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. RanchGranny

    RanchGranny Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 13, 2008
    La Center, WA
    We have had our hens in a "summer coop" consisiting of a nice angled roof, one solid wall and three wire walls. It has only rained a couple of times and it's not cold yet (daytime temps near 70, nights low 50's). We live in the Pacific Northwest in SW Washington state. They have a large shelf & box where they sleep at night and have their nest box (only have four hens - they take turns) about three feet off the ground, with a ramp for them to get up and down.

    My problem is ... the floor of their coop is damp. It's primarily sand/dirt, and we occasionally throw down pine shavings and hay. They scratch that into the corners immediately to get to the dirt. Anyway, now that the ground is damp, and since that area is primarily where they spend most of their hang out time during the day ... is that bad for them? How urgently do I need to harrass my husband to get their winter quarters prepared? We had thought to simply cover the wire with plywood and maybe some foamboard insulation over that, but with their floor getting wet already, I don't know if that's going to cut it. It rarely gets down below 25 degrees at night here, but it rains like mad all winter/spring, and sometimes we have snow and ice storms. I know I can add a heat lamp if they need it, but from what I've read on the forum already, it sounds like they won't. It's the damp ground I haven't found any posts on ... How dry do the girls need to stay? Do we need to put in pallets and plywood to get them off the damp ground over the winter, or what? We also have the option of building them a winter coop inside our barn's tack room, but there's absolutely no natural light in there, and I hate the idea of sticking them in a dark place where I have to run the lights all day for them to have even a facsimile of a natural life ...

    Do they sell little rubber chicken booties somewhere, lol? Maybe I should provide them with pre-warmed towels to dry their feet ... Install an automatic blow-dry system ... Yikes! We are on a very limited income so need ideas that we might actually be able to afford. Any practical advice would be greatly appreciated.

    RanchGranny, aka Pam, proud mom of 1 Americauna, 2 Rhoddies, 1 Golden Sex Link, 2 goofy dogs, 6 lazy cats, 1 fat horse and wife to a wonderful man reluctantly enjoying his wife's dream of great country life.
     
  2. Bassleg

    Bassleg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2008
    Lebanon Oregon
    Sounds like they might turn into DUCKS!!!
     
  3. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    I would definitely get them up off the cold dirt. It's just an invitation to disease. Maybe plywood covered with wood shavings??
     
  4. herbandteas

    herbandteas Chillin' With My Peeps

    You must not have good drainage where they are at. All outside our pen it is wet but in the coop it is dry but I keep shaving in it at all times too.

    My DH is in the process of making a better coop for me as the one I currently have is too short for me to enter so I have to bend over to get in there to clean. It was a free pheasent coop that I got from my neighbors.
     
  5. Alpha Roo

    Alpha Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2008
    Apple Valley, CA
    Build a removable raised floor. Plywood on top of 2x4's. Throw some dirt on it, then cover the dirt with straw. It doesn't need to cover the whole area, but enough so they can run around on it. Put enough dirt and straw on it so they can scratch it up. They'll be happy [​IMG] Build the sections small enough for one person to remove them for easy cleaning. Like maybe 2'x2' squares. Take em out, hose em off, and repeat. [​IMG] You could even put foam on the under side to help block the cold dampness.
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Is a drainage problem or is rain blowing in from the uncovered sides?
     

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