Raised mobile coop with grate floor and plastic sheet "walls"? Are these coops safe?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by totorocat, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. totorocat

    totorocat Hatching

    Feb 1, 2017
    Hello. I can't seem to find information on this topic anywhere. The coops on the farm I'm working at are mobile coops raised ~2 feet off the ground, and the floors are metal grates (diamond shaped holes, approx. 1" long and 0.5" wide). I think they were using the deep litter method, but the feces/leaves were very compact and appeared moist, so I think it's better to get rid of the crap and try normal litter instead. Much of the grate is currently exposed. What type of litter, if any, is supposed to be used with this type of flooring? Is it safe for chickens to walk on? If not, can some type of flooring be easily and cheaply installed atop the grate floor? Can predators enter through the holes?

    Another question--the coops are shaped like a cylinder that's been cut long ways, constructed from a few curved metal poles with thin white plastic covers over them. The plastic is torn in some places, leaving the coops a bit exposed to the outside. There's silver insulation that looks like it has bubble wrap between the 2 silver layers (idk the proper name for it) lining the ceiling and half of the walls. There's also chicken wire on the back, flat face of each of the coops (and some of it is not covered by the plastic sheet)--no hardware cloth anywhere. Is this...an appropriate and safe coop design?

    The original designer/owner was apparently a farming expert, so I don't know what to think. I want the chickens to be safe and happy for their short lives. Thank you in advance.

  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    This sounds like some sort of elevated hoop coop hybrid set up. Can you post pics? How big are the coops?

    My coops are elevated but have solid floors. I do know some people keep their birds on wire floors but I am not comfortable with that plus it seems like more work to try to clean poop off of wires. It doesn't sound like that was deep litter. Was this a commercial chicken farm?
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It’s hard to evaluate that coop if you don’t know how it was used. It could be really predator safe even with chicken wire if it were used as a mobile coop inside of electric netting, for example. The electric netting provides the protection. People seem to think in isolation, like coop only. I like to know what the system the coop is part of before I make judgments. But on its own, that coop as you describe it sounds vulnerable.

    I use hardware cloth as the floor in my outdoor brooder and grow-out coop and don’t have foot problems. But as with everything, there’s an “if” associated with it. Due to the manufacturing process, some wire has sharp nubs that can chew up the chickens’ feet, either from welding or galvanizing. But due to that manufacturing process, the nubs should all be on one side if they are there at all. So check the wire before you install it and put the smooth side up.

    Grating can be pretty smooth or it can have some type of non-skid design to it. The smooth grating should not create any problems for their feet, I’m not sure about the non-skid.

    I find with my ½” hardware cloth floor, the poop drops on through until my dual purpose chicks are around 12 to 14 weeks old, which is great until them. Then the poop is big enough and has the texture that it can build up. I don’t know what chickens you plan to keep in there. I have not raised the Cornish X broilers or the Rangers, I get the feeling you might be talking about them, but I could be wrong. I haven’t raised either Cornish X or Rangers, certainly not on grating like that, so I don’t know what kind of poop build-up issues you might have. I know my ½” hardware cloth is a pain to clean when the poop builds up, grating might be also. I don’t know how easy it would be to rake it, with or without bedding. If you are going to use bedding, I’d be tempted to put plywood down as a floor to make clean-up easier.

    If you are talking about raising chicks to butcher age, I might be tempted to try it once without bedding just to see how hard it is. If the poop falls right on through so all you have to do to manage the poop is relocate the trailer, well that sounds easy.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    My first thought is....if they've been using it any length of time and have not lost a ton of birds, it's probably pretty safe.

    How long have you worked there?

    What are the chickens raised for?

    Where are you located?

    I agree pictures will help a lot. But, you're not the owner. Is the owner satisfied with the current set up? Are they losing birds or having other issues?

    As to happy chickens, they really don't care what their coop looks like. As long as they're dry and out of the wind, and not munched on, they're usually quite content. Coop designs are way more for humans than the birds.
  5. totorocat

    totorocat Hatching

    Feb 1, 2017
    I'm not allowed to take pictures. I would estimate that they're about 6' by 12'. It's primarily a produce farm that also keeps chickens for eggs. After digging up the stuff on the floor, I can say that it was comprised of 2-3 in. of compact feces with 2-3 in. of composted leaves beneath it...which doesn't sound like a litter method I've heard of, so I thought they were trying for deep litter.

    There is electric netting! I forgot to mention that.

    I'm going to put a tarp down over the grating so that straw won't fall through. Unfortunately, the poop doesn't fall through the holes.

    I'm brand new there, the chickens are kept for eggs and then slaughtered when they're "spent," and I'm in NJ. As far as I know, they haven't lost many birds. I just want to make sure it stays that way. The owners don't know much about chickens. I have some chicken care experience and I've been researching coops to try to figure out how secure theirs are and how to improve them.

    Thank you all. :)

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