Need some help with retro-fitting an existing shed to make it a coop..

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kelly G, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Today we are going to start retro-fitting an existing shed on our property to be our new hen coop.

    The shed has no floor (just dirt) and my question is: must it have a floor? If not, how will I keep it clean? How can I sterilize dirt?

    Other than routinely cleaning out bedding (which I do on a regular basis) what else can I do to ensure it is a disease-free place to live?

    What type of beddings do you all use?

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The biggest two issues with a dirt floor are making sure it is digproof, which is not necessarily as easy a retrofit as you might think, and making sure it stays really dry all year round even after a thunderstorm or in spring melt or whatever.

    One way of preventing larger animals from digging in (well ok, a way of seriously discouraging almost all of them) is to lay an apron of heavy gauge wire mesh on the ground, or just under the turf, all the way around the building, sticking out 3-4' from the base of the walls. It needs to be pinned or weighted down securely, and securely attached to the base of the walls too. This won't do a thing about rats but will keep out all but the most determined foxes, dogs, coyotes.

    Disinfecting is not a big deal unless you get some sort of awful disease and have to 'start over', in which case you can (whilst the coop is unoccuped) till in some lime.

    By far the biggest thing you can do to produce a disease-free environment for your chickens is to practice good biosecurity. Most notably, buy only hatching eggs or day-old chickens from a 'clean' source. Even quarantining older birds for a month after purchase is not nearly as safe as just not gettin' em in the first place, as they can be carriers of stuff that will infect the rest of your flock. Depends on how paranoid you are of course [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. cubalaya

    cubalaya Crowing

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    i am going to do the same thing with an old shed that i have. i am going to have a raised floor where the roost and nesting boxes are and make it so their poop falls through to the dirt floor where i can shovel it out
  4. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Yeah...if we don't put down a plywood floor, we will be putting in a hardware cloth floor. I just didn't know if a dirt floor was acceptable.

    The entire 50'x50' run is enclosed with chain link fence that is burried into the ground and is 8 feet high (the lady we bought the property from kept 3 fallow deer in the pen)...but I want the coop to be predator proof as the run will be open to the sky and raccons climb pretty I need a predator-proof coop.

    The shed does stay dry...but I appreciate the tip about lime dust - I will do a good coating of the coop a week before I put the girls in there. Thanks for that tip! God knows what the deer may have left behind (but the deer have been gone for almost a year, now).

  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Dirt floor is perfectly acceptible. With a wood floor *inside* an existing shed, be careful b/c you are creating a space underneath where rot, mice, and digging/chewing predators can work away in peace without your knowing until you get a surprise. Wood floors are better when you are building the whole coop up on blocks or stilts so that the underneath space is at least 12" high and well-exposed to eyes and breeze.

    I really would not put in a hardwarecloth floor. Not even if it is on the existing dirt. Hard on chickens' feet, prevents scratching/digging, EXPENSIVE, and it *will* rust through (yes, even galvanized rusts) and require replacement, hopefully *before* a predator discovers the weak spot. Recommend against it.

    God knows what the deer may have left behind (but the deer have been gone for almost a year, now).

    There's nothing the deer coulda had that your chickens could get. I really, really would NOT worry about it [​IMG]

    Have fun,

  6. My coop was a woodshed and has no floor.
    Just make sure to keep your roosts boxes and feed up off the ground enough to be able to rake it out and don't even think about giving them straw on the floor because it becomes a place for mice and seems suck moisture right out of the air and hold it in your coop. I rake the "solids" up and toss them into the compost pile and dump in a wheelbarrow load of sand whenever I have one. As long as you can keep it dry and ventilated you will have a great start.

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