Our backyard set-up... Are we on the right track??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JNorth, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. JNorth

    JNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first official post here but I have been lurking for quite some time now. Our family decided to raise some chicken this year, for eggs and the learning experience that it will bring the children. We have 8 that we bought from TSC, red sex links. They are thriving and are in need of moving to their new home, outdoors. Before we make this move in the coming weeks I just wanted to be sure that what we have planned is acceptable.

    We have a 8ft x 14ft dog kennel that came with our new home, we don't have any real use for it so we thought it would be perfect to place our chicken coop, which is about 4ft x 5ft and will be 2ft off the ground. The kennel is located in a small "forest like" area, many tall skinny pines and a few maples surround the entire area. Shade will not be an issue and the area gets sun in the morning and evening. The floor of the kennel, what will be the run, we have just discovered, is about 3 inches of stone. We have since dug some of that out in an effort to just clean it. Oh and we have placed chicken wire over the top of the kennel and have a mesh sun shade on hand in case it's needed.

    With all that said...
    Question #1: Should we leave the stone as the floor of the run?

    Question #2: We live in an area where river sand is easy to come by, should we consider covering the stone with a layer of sand for easy cleaning and muddy run prevention?

    Question #3: We were also considering using sand inside the coop as well, using hay during the colder times to insulate the floor a bit (also using hay in the nesting areas as well, since we can get hay for pennies). Is this okay?

    Question #4: With this layout, should we have our food and water inside the coop or out?

    Thank you all so much for your help. I've learned more about raising chickens than I ever knew was possible. I don't know where I would be without this site!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  2. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i wouldn't leave the stone in the run by itself. Alot of people use sand in their runs and if its easy to come probably your best bet. I use hay in my nest box but pine shavings for the floor hay tends to stink when it rots i just add a few more inches of pineshavings every couple weeks then clean it out 2 or 3 times a year. Its up to you but alot of people use sand and use a kitty litter scoop to keep it clean. the food and water is up to you i keep mine under my elevated chicken coop so they have a lil more room inside and so hopefully mice and such don't move inside and eat the food. Hope this helps some.
     
  3. JNorth

    JNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So we will put some of the stone back in and add a nice thick layer of sand for the run. I think we will use the sand in the coop too, I like the idea of being to scoop the poop with out having to pull everything out.

    So, if I have sand it both places, will I need grit? Seems like the chickens would pick through the sand to get what they need.
     
  4. ChickenMan77

    ChickenMan77 Out Of The Brooder

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    If the sand ganuals are about 1/3 smaller than a pea you should be fine with not grit. If the sand is much smaller, like beach sand, you might consider some grit. Don't forget that sand gets cold cold cold so make sure to provide about 4-6 inches of straw in the coop during the winter or the coop will be uncomfortable. Also I would consider adding some hardware cloth on the bottom 6-12 inches of the dog run you are using as a chicken run, if the run is made of chain link fence or something with comporable wire spacing. Use 1/2 inch hardware cloth to prevent mice and other undesirables from getting into the chicen run and coop.
     
  5. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The sand on top of the stone will work well. Will make for good drainage They will pick some of the grit they need from the sand. Grit is actually pretty cheap so might not hurt to buy some too. Hanging the feeder/waterer outside the coop is also good idea to keep stuff from getting into there feed and water. If they are going to be confined to the coop for a period of course you will want to move it inside. From what I've read straw isn't the best solution, stinks when wet and can harbor mites,etc. I used the pine shavings but am considering switching to sand in the coop. I went around the fencing on mine with poultry wire to keep the chicken heads inside since I have a dog also. Mice can jump a good distance further than what you think, so might go a little taller that 12 inches if that is your goal there.
     
  6. KDK1

    KDK1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If your chickens have to stay cooped up for any length of time due to inclement weather (western NY), you might want to consider a larger coop, or fewer birds.
     
  7. JNorth

    JNorth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a very large wood shed that is going to be our back-up coop in case of severe weather that sticks around. Ya just never know around here!

    The reason we have chosen hay is because we get it for free. My husband helps our neighbors bring it in so we can get as much as we need. So far we haven't had an issue with mold or funk (other than poop funk), but we are able to change it very often without worry. I'm thinking if we start having issues we will head in the pine shavings direction! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  8. ChickenMan77

    ChickenMan77 Out Of The Brooder

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    I use pine shavings too at times, but mostly straw. The pine shavings help in the nest boxes as well as the whole coop. The only negative thing I have ever heard about using pine shavings is that it doesn't compost as quickly as straw. I don't have room to compost more than one bin or so at a time so I mainly use straw till the compost bin is full, then I incorporate some shavings into the mix. The only other bit of info I have read about using shavings is that cedar should NOT be used becasuse it can cause respiratory issues in the birds. I have only read this in one place so I don't konw how accurate it is.
     

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