Please ease my curiosity!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cajunhillbilly, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. cajunhillbilly

    cajunhillbilly Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2010
    Dover, Arkansas
    Ok I have some questions and concerns about my coop and my run which is in progress.
    First the coop- My coop is 8'x8', floor will be 1"x4" planks (cause im reusing), can I put down contractor plastic down on the floor then cover the plastic with sand? If so what kind of sand?

    Second the run- my run is 20'x20', Now help me get this straight chickens will scratch the ground for food right? If so and say I put sand in my run to help with drainage and erosion. What will the chickens have to look forward to scratching for? Will they still find worms and grubs, will any grass grow? What kind of sand to put in the run? and how much?

    Third- Does the feeder need to be inside the coop or in the run, or can i put a feeder in both?

    [​IMG]

    Karl
     
  2. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    upstate SC
    If you put plastic down over your boards then the chickens will eventually dig down to the plastic and tear it up. Even if it is a foot deep. My chickens free range and still have lots of DEEP holes in the yard and in their coop.

    Depending on the grasses, there may be some to attempt to grow in your run but you will never see it. the chickens grab it before it thinks of sprouting out of the ground. And sand would be great for erosion but the chickens will rearrange it every day to suit themselves. Holes, gullies and mountains of sand could be in different spots each day but I know people do use sand in their runs. I just don;t see many photos of it after a month.[​IMG]

    To get grubs and worms for them you need to lay boards, plywood pieces and concrete blocks down around inside the run and after a rain move them all. Lots of yummy grubs and worms under that. I do that even for the free range birds. But the penned birds really appreciate it and stand on my hands as soon as I touch a board or block. They get very excited![​IMG]

    You put the feeder where ever it suits the girls.
    I have one in my free range coop and they take a few bites before laying or before retiring for bed but I also have several out in the barnyard and they are always grazing through that. However, outside it can get wet and you have to make sure no mold has started to grow down in the dish.

    Have fun with the chickens![​IMG]
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I'd be real leery of doing that unless you have calculated the load and beefed up the floor joists appropriately -- they will need to be bigger and/or closer-spaced than for a normal floor. Do the calculations (based on about twice the depth of sand you expect to use, partly to give a margin for error and partly b/c realistically the "local" load on part of the floor may well BE that since chickens tend to rearrange their bedding).

    chickens will scratch the ground for food right? If so and say I put sand in my run to help with drainage and erosion. What will the chickens have to look forward to scratching for? Will they still find worms and grubs, will any grass grow?

    You'll get little or no grass growth (except some straggly weeds here and there) not because of the sand (which grass can grow thru, unless it is super deep) but because of the CHICKENS, eating and scratching up the grass.

    Bugs and worms will still be on/in the sand and the chickens will still scratch around after them.

    What kind of sand to put in the run? and how much?

    Coarse-ish sand, not a real dusty grade, whatever you can get cheapest (in bulk delivery) in your area, ask the aggregate contractors you're buying from what they think. Some (many?) places you can get 'roadbase' or 'A aggregate' cheaper, which is a mix of dirt-sand-gravel-small-rocks used for road foundations and gravel driveways. Although, what roadbase IS will vary among locations and you might want to actually see a sample before ordering a dumpload!

    How much depends on your situation. In most cases, less than 3" or so won't do a lot (at least not for very *long*), more than 6-8" is a pain to build retaining walls for and I would reserve for special situations. So, somewhere in there. Decide on a depth, then calculate the cubic footage (divide by 27 to get cubic yards) and tell the bulk aggregate guys that's how much you want delivered.

    Third- Does the feeder need to be inside the coop or in the run, or can i put a feeder in both?

    Depends totally on your situation. Browse for threads on this if you want a full analysis; a short summary is something like:

    If you have rodent issues or very nasty winters, keep feeder indoors. If you have very cold winters most people will keep waterers indoors too. If you have problematically-hot summers, you might oughta keep both indoors or at least in the shade. If none of the above apply to you, do whichever floats yer boat [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  4. cajunhillbilly

    cajunhillbilly Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2010
    Dover, Arkansas
    well i guess i will just do wood chips inside the coop, and put sand down in the run.
    Should I put down landscape fabric down in the run before the sand? or just put sand on dirt?
    Thanks for all of the information.
    It would be nice to see some pics of sand in a run over a one month period so i can see what kind of damage to be expected!!

    Karl
     
  5. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do not put lanscape fabric down.

    Your run will look like a barren wasteland with crators after a few weeks of chickens scratching it up.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    I would not suggest landscape fabric unless you will be using a HUGE depth of sand, like a foot or more - they will scractch down to it in no time and start ripping holes in it and eating it, what a mess.

    Your sand will last longest if you were to put it down on DRY not wet/muddy earth (it mixes into the soil faster if the soil is initially wet/muddy) but this time of year you do not generally get a choice [​IMG] so do whatcha gotta do, and if it means you have to top up the sand next year, oh well.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. cajunhillbilly

    cajunhillbilly Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2010
    Dover, Arkansas
    I truly appreciate the time, and information that yall have provided me with!
    [​IMG]
     

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