Ready to get started..but have a couple questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicks4mom, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. chicks4mom

    chicks4mom In the Brooder

    Jan 8, 2013
    Rosamond Ca
    I have my coop and run all ready to go! I just need to add the bedding. What do you recommend for bedding in the coop and chicken run? Is dirt alone OK in the run? I have read a little on building up on the bedding and laying down DE, and cleaning it out not as often. This sounds like the best method for me and my family and am looking forward to trying it. Where do I get the DE? Would you put this down when you put the new bedding down for the first time or when you add some the next time? Aghhh...I have been reading on this for months and now that I am ready to get chicks I don't feel like I know anything!

  2. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    Hi and welcome to BYC [​IMG] from the San Diego High desert.
    Deep breath you arent going to make mistakes on this .... Learn a little but no mistakes. First of all what kind of environment do you live in..... Also what is available in your area. Some stuff is better in one situation than another. Also wether or not you are in the city with a small coop or out in the country with a little space to work with.

    I would use dirt or sand in the run. Easy to keep clean and neat and it drains very very well. Fewer muddy spots in the rainy season. Chickens are excellent defoliators.... So the run will be picked clean in no time. You will rarely see poo in the run unless you have A LOT of chickens.

    Some people use pine needles
    Some people use leaf litter
    Some people use Pine shavings
    Some people use Rice hulls
    Some people use shredded paper
    Some people use straw

    Big list hunh. All of the above are biodegradable and work well in the compost heap. Wether you use deep litter or not they will still need to be cleaned out completely every so often. So you need to put it somewhere. If not the compost heap then the trash. Where I have we have green bins for Yard waste.... works for me.

    Some people use Sand in the coop as well. coop looks good clean it with a cat scoop. Not biodegradable so if you feel the need to clean it out you need somewhere to dispose of it.

    Me.... I use dirt in the run and occasionally Rice hulls in the coop area. Just during the winter.

    I really like the concept of Poop hammocks. I am going through a coop rebuild right now and Poop hammocks are on my go to list. They are made of shade cloth or canvas and hang under the roosts to catch the droppings the chickens make during the night. Because inside the coop this is where most of the poo is deposited. Some people build poop trays and clean those out daily. The poop hammock works better in my opinion than a tray because it causes the poo to naturally dry out and you get less smell and you dont have to clean it as often. Also when you do clean it you have ONLY poo nothing else to add to the compost heap. So the rice hulls will go away and sand will go in for landing spots.

    here is a thread discussing it down towards the bottom of the first page are pictures.

    In a coop with a floor situation I would use Some sort of bedding to protect feet as they land from hopping off the perch. What ever is readily available inexpensive. The feed store may have several selections. Ranging from Rice hulls to shavings to straw. Often times the feed store will let you fill a trash bag with the stuff raked around the hay bales. Free.
    Stay with grass or straw for bedding if you want that. Alfalfa is something chickens like to eat. And it should be fed but fed sparingly.

    DE.... if you are going to use it buy Food Grade at the feed store. Even though its considered safe, It should be handled and dispensed with a mask. DO NOT buy the stuff for swimming pools it has been heated to form a sharper crystalline structure and can cause Silicosis if you breath it. Diatomaceous Earth is good for crawling insects slicing through the waxy coatings on flexible joints causing insects to desiccate.

    I consider DE a preventative. If you have an infestation of some sort it needs to be dealt with, with organic or inorganic sprays there are good ones out there in each group. This can come from wild birds and or adopted chickens that havent been quarantined long enough.

    I am still on the fence about using it as a feed through.... for worms. Its a hot subject I will make my own mind up on it eventually..... LOL. All I can say about that is it cant hurt the digestive system. But if we should wear masks while handling it what about the chickens living in it or consuming it.

    So in a nutshell. Use what you like what is easy or logical for your needs. If you dont like it try something else. Free stuff is good too like pine needles or leaf litter....


    Oh and sorry I seem to be in Book writing mode .....
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  3. chicks4mom

    chicks4mom In the Brooder

    Jan 8, 2013
    Rosamond Ca
    Thank you sooo much Deb! I appreciate all your information. I am definitely going to check out the poop swing. I bought my coop already made and didn't know about the poop tray or anything like that at the time. I love the idea of a poop swing. :) Here
    is my coop. I have chicken wire down int the ground to keep digging predators out. There is some space under the coop for shade but will be adding a shade canopy clothe on top. We live in the Rosamond, CA. It is desert here and mostly dirt. It gets pretty hot here. I do not plan on having too many chickens to start off with at the most 8. I was told by the person who built the coop I could have up to 14 larger breed and 20 small breed, but don't plan on having that many any time soon. :)

  4. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    You are definately going to need some shade either a tarp or shade cloth. My coop is like your run. I would not worry about sand at all Your area looks like mine DG decomposed granite. Water goes right through.

    For what its worth.... sadly... Chicken wire is only good for keeping chickens in. Dogs, Coyotes, Raccoons and Bobcat Will go right through. The worst one is dogs. Loose dogs are a menace. Not maybe yours but neighborhood visitors or feral dogs. They only know enough to chase and kill and as soon as one is dead they find another to chase and kill.....

    As soon as you can afford it surround the outside with a dog proof kind of wire. Like Horse anti climb or even field fence.
    Dogs cant bite through it. Then on the inside anywhere a raccoon can reach in put Hardware cloth. Arround the base up about two or three feet is good. Then any where you might put perches. In the run some people put up saw horses for some fun perches.

    My enclosures are all dog kennel panels. Beefy indestructable.... Yet I lost half a flock of Guinea Fowl youngster to raccoons. They would reach through the wire and pull the two month old Guinea Keets right through, killing them in the process. They will also grab the birds by the head and pop the head off to eat it. As well as a leg.

    How big is your coop it looks very nice. You are right to keep to eight..... No matter what the builder told you chickens need 4 square foot as a rule of thumb a piece.... So an eight by four space is good for eight chickens give or take. You can put more in and they may get along but that rule of thumb is kind of an optimal deal. It helps keep aggression down and gives them space if you have to lock them in for the day for some reason. Of course Bantams take less physical space but they often times are more its a trade off.

    By the way I use those heavy duty silver tarps they block 100 percent of the sun and are good for about half a year. I get them from Harbor Frieght. Home Depot and Lowes sell crap.... They do work but last half the amount of time.

    From the looks of your area you get wind too. In the winter time I stack a few bales of straw along the prevailing wind side to help block the cold. Make good tarp anchors too. Though after ten years now I am getting tired of buying tarps so I will be repurposing tin for my next build....

    I have a link to my Coop build page here in my signature.... I lost all my chickens three weeks ago.... pack of Coyotes... long story. But I will not be getting poultry again till I have it moved and rebuilt.

  5. kimmerjo

    kimmerjo Chirping

    May 15, 2013
    western new york
    . I'm so with you on that got my coop in March still not feeling ready:)

  6. mamas

    mamas In the Brooder

    Jul 8, 2012
    For our run we put down a thin layer of concrete so we can easily wash it off and offer protection at night. We also have another area outside of the run where we allow them to run during the day which is just dirt.
  7. chicks4mom

    chicks4mom In the Brooder

    Jan 8, 2013
    Rosamond Ca
    The coop has sliding door that drops down and then the ladder covers that door. The should be safe at night from predators. I also Barrie's wire and chicken wire down into the ground around the coop to prevent digging.

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