Planning my first coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ckemp47, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. ckemp47

    ckemp47 New Egg

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Hello, everyone:) I have my first chickens, 2 RIR and 2 barred rocks, who are 4 weeks old and thriving, and will be starting to build my coop and run next week. I've studied the pictures and designs on this web site, and have a pretty good idea what I want to do, but I have one question. Can I make the floor of the coop out of hardware cloth (it will be 18" off the ground) so the droppings go onto the grass? My thinking is, this will help to keep the coop odor-free, as well as cleaner. I plan to build a chicken tractor and move it every few days; that way the poop won't accumulate in one spot, plus the birds will have fresh grass/weeds to peck at. Would this plan help control odor?
     
  2. Morgaine

    Morgaine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 22, 2008
    Texas
    How about just the part under the roosts lined with hardware cloth? I think staying on wire all the time is hard on their feet.
     
  3. team_realtree

    team_realtree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if this helps but I was expecting my first coop to smell bad compared to what the chicks in the brooder would smell like. But I was wrong for some reason with a dirt floor there was barely any crap smell [​IMG] don't know why......
     
  4. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I think Morgaine had a good point. Just do the area under the roost with the hardware cloth. Be sure to do it 24" wide and be sure to put roost 12" from wall. That way over 95% of poop will fall thru . Be sure to provide a generous amount of ventilation overhead. I did 1 sq ft for each 4 chickens of permanent, above-the-walls ventilation. For my 24 chooks, I have 6 sq ft ventilation, and an additional 40 more sq ft in 4 windows which I leave open in warmer weather.[​IMG]
     
  5. ckemp47

    ckemp47 New Egg

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Thanks for all the input. I was a bit concerned about them being on wire; I like the idea of putting the wire under the roosts only. As for ventilation, I live in Phoenix, so this coop will be more of an "Arizona Room" concept, with screening on each side and a wood awning (best way I can describe it) that can be fastened down when needed to keep out the cold in winter and rain from our summer monsoon storms. The front will have one half enclosed with plywood and the other half open, so that the birds can roost completely out of the elements or on the open side to get fresh air. The roost will go completely across the coop, so they can pick what's comfortable. (I saw a coop front like this on this site).
     
  6. Hill Country Farm

    Hill Country Farm New Egg

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    Jan 18, 2010
    I read the posted thread. The information is very helpful to us. My husband and I are beginners. We are looking for a sturdy coop, that we can move around. Any suggestions for websites with good coops four to eight chickens?(we do not have our chickens yet). We are also looking for tips on keeping predators to a minimum? We are in Texas(Marble Falls area). Also is there are any book and magazines that would be helpful to us . Please let us know![​IMG]
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    In arizona I think that sounds quite reasonable, esp. if it is only under the actual roost. I've not done it myself (too cold for much of the year) but most of the people who DO use a wire floor report using 1/2x1 or 1x1 mesh, not hardwarecloth, so that most of the poo will fall through on its own rather than having to be brushed/hosed through. Remember that adult large-fowl chickens often produce poos the size of pingpong balls or larger.

    Do make sure that, what with the mesh size and however close the mesh is to the roost, there is not an opportunity for raccoons or etc to reach through the mesh at night and do Bad Things to roosting birds.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  8. ckemp47

    ckemp47 New Egg

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Didn't know the adult chicken poop was that large! I'll go with the larger wire, for sure...The whole thing will have a hardware cloth apron around it to keep out predators. Don't know if the coyotes are actually in my neighborhood, but I have a large dog with a high prey drive, who is fascinated by the chickies:). We have a temporary run we use now to put them outside on warm afternoons (under our supervision and we've put the apron around it, and it has discouraged diggng. He tried to dig before the apron was up, but now realizes he can't. the permanent coop will be very sturdy, plus will have the apron.
     

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