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Need coop advice - litter type & watering

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BrushyHillGuide, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. BrushyHillGuide

    BrushyHillGuide Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2015
    I'm almost finished with our new coop and I need some advice on 2 areas - which bedding type to choose and on a watering system. I'll post some pictures of the coop below. The floor is built out of 3/4" treated plywood covered with that rubberized roofing paint - 2 coats. We live in South Texas and our birds only stay in the coop at night and free range on 24 acres all day. Of course, they do come in to lay and to grab a quick bite or a quick drink. The weather here is usually dry and hot most of the year, even though lately we've been getting some unusual amounts of rain.

    Litter type: We originally planned to use the deep litter method, starting with 2-3" of small pine shavings and another 2-3" of larger pine flakes on top of that. Since our coop is obviously very well ventilated (I may close it in a little more, though, if too much rain does get in) I thought that would be the easiest and best method. However, I'm second guessing myself and wondering if sand would be better? I have a good pile of masonry sand laying around already and this might be a good use for it. I guess my question boils down to: what is the best method for a climate where it's usually warm/hot and dry? What's the most common method used in South Texas?

    Watering method: We intentionally placed the coop next to a water line. I'd like to set up an automatic watering system that's connected to the water line, so that we don't need to worry about filling waterers if we go out of town or want to be lazy for a coup,e days. Is the Little Giant watering system (http://www.miller-mfg.com/product/2500.html) the best way to go? I was envisioning a horizontal PVC pipe with several nipples but the ones I found could not be used under pressure. What do y'all recommend for use with a water line?

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  2. micah wotring

    micah wotring Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nice looking coop.

    Good job.

    I use a big water pan so that I don't have to bring a water line to the coop and so that it will last several days.

    https://www.southernstates.com/catalog/p-197-duraflex-15gal-rubber-tub.aspx

    I don't have a problem with the chickens getting it dirty probably because I have it on top of another one that is up side down so that the chickens can't knock bedding into it.

    Also maybe because I free range almost constantly except for night.

    Not sure what size mine is but I have about 20 chickens (Always changing) and do not have to refill water for several days in a row.

    If you have a run you could put a small kiddy pool in it for them and you shouldn't have to fill it very often (Maybe none in the spring with all the rain)

    Good job with your coop.

    Oh and [​IMG]
    Micah
     
  3. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    What you could do, is have your pressurized water line fill a tank of some kind. You would use a toilet fill valve, in-line, to control the water level in the tank. Then you could just run another pipe/line off of the tank, for the bird's water supply. Simple, cheap, and easy.
     
  4. BrushyHillGuide

    BrushyHillGuide Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2015
    Connecting to the water line is easy for me. So, if nobody suggests a different product, I'll just use the Little Giant fountain. We've got 18 2-month-old chicks right now that are drinking 2 gallons of water a day and it's not even hot yet. Lol! Our 4 laying hens are emptying a 3 gallon waterer every week. So, once everyone moves to the new coop, I really want a watering system that doesn't need ANY tending to. I'm going to be building a feeding system that holds at least a week of food. Our goal is to be as maintenance free as possible. So, anything I can set up with "auto" features is the way I want to go.
     
  5. BrushyHillGuide

    BrushyHillGuide Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2015
    Yeah, I thought of that but I don't want food or water on floor level because the birds throw litter into water bowls and feeders. I've found that keeping water and food 6"-8" above the floor keeps both clean. Especially if they have a sloped cover hung above - so that there's no way they can roost above either.
     
  6. BrushyHillGuide

    BrushyHillGuide Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2015
    More than anything I was hoping to get some advice on which litter to choose, given our climate and the very ventilated coop we've built. Nobody has commented on which litter would work best. :-(
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    You would raise the tank, like 3-4' off the ground. Possibly have it outside the coop. The water pipe, with pipe nipples, would be about a foot or so, off the ground. Do what I am suggesting, the chickens won't be kicking anything into the water tank, which would have a lid on it also.

    As far as bedding goes, I go with pine shavings. I have an open-air coop, and sometimes when it rains, some will blow into the coop. No big deal, in a day or so, it's all dried out. With your well ventilated coop, it would work out the same. I have some sand up in the front part of my coop. Mainly so the chickens don't just drag bedding out the pop-door. If sand gets wet, it takes a lot longer to dry out.
     
  8. SVTechChick

    SVTechChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2016
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    I'm using sand in the run area and pine shavings in the coop -- seems to work well. We have good air flow, and I scrape everything out of the coop 1x a week, use it for compost, and hose down the inside 1x a month. The sand area I rake once a week to get the big chunks out, and add fresh sand about 1x every couple of months -- just an inch or two.
     

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