Revamping The Coop

Dec 23, 2020
580
1,666
266
Washington, PNW
Hello!
My current coop has a dirt/poop floor. We are looking to do something to change it. My dad is going to help me pour a cement slab, and we were planning to put straw as litter/bedding. How can I keep the litter/bedding dry? I live in the PNW, so it's always rainy in the winter. They do not go in the henhouse to sleep (silly chickens). The nesting boxes are in the henhouse as well.
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3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,533
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
You can put bedding/litter right down on the dirt without needing concrete if you want to. This would facilitate the use of the Deep Litter Method, where the litter and poop compost in place.

What does the inside of the wooden box look like?

If it's stuffy and badly ventilated (many commercially-made coops are :( ), that might be why the chickens don't want to sleep in it.

What are the dimensions of your coop and run and how many chickens do you have?

I like the way you've set up a choice of perches for them with both branches and boards.
 
Dec 23, 2020
580
1,666
266
Washington, PNW
You can put bedding/litter right down on the dirt without needing concrete if you want to. This would facilitate the use of the Deep Litter Method, where the litter and poop compost in place.

What does the inside of the wooden box look like?

If it's stuffy and badly ventilated (many commercially-made coops are :( ), that might be why the chickens don't want to sleep in it.

What are the dimensions of your coop and run and how many chickens do you have?

I like the way you've set up a choice of perches for them with both branches and boards.
Thank you! The inside of the box is small, so we just let the pullets sleep and live in there when they're small. I have 11 chickens, and the coop is 13x 5.5x 7. I think that the box area is well ventilated, it's just too small. We want to pour a cement pad because we live in the PNW, and it is always raining. I think that the cement pad will help keep moisture and mold at bay, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks again!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,533
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
The usual recommendation is to have 4 square feet of space in the coop plus 10 square feet of space in the run per bird and to have 1 square foot of ventilation in the coop per bird. :)

Is your problem groundwater pooling in the run, groundwater running through the run, or rain coming in through the sides?

Elevating the floor level with concrete might help the first two, but won't do much for the third problem. :)
 
Dec 23, 2020
580
1,666
266
Washington, PNW
The usual recommendation is to have 4 square feet of space in the coop plus 10 square feet of space in the run per bird and to have 1 square foot of ventilation in the coop per bird. :)

Is your problem groundwater pooling in the run, groundwater running through the run, or rain coming in through the sides?

Elevating the floor level with concrete might help the first two, but won't do much for the third problem. :)
I think it may be that the rain is coming in, we are also installing some plywood on the sides for the winter, and it also might be that there is just moisture in the ground. I noticed that there is just moisture on the ground, not on any of the wooden supports on the walls, so it's most likely that the moisture is coming in from the ground. I haven't noticed any pools or puddles of water on the floor. Thanks!
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
All of the above.

Keep in mind that, by code, the ground should slope away from your house. All the rain falling on your house has to go somewhere, start by ensuring its not being directed at the coop.

Then, looking at the coop itself, recommend raising it a few inches, and sloping the ground away from it, so what water does come from the sky doesn't rush in, and what gets blown into your run can quickly exit.

Overall, your space is too small for your flock size - but that's a different subject.

I'd save the money you were going to put to concrete, repurpose it for enlarging the run and the coop, using the effort to re-grade the land in and out to encourage water to flow away from both. Oh, and add ventilation to the coop when you do. Your birds may not sleep inside either because they prefer sleeping outside (will often be the case, even on cold days (to us) so long as its not also raining on them or windy), or because they find the coop wet/stuffy - which is often the case when the hen house looks like a dark, poorly ventilated box.

Then, a few inches of leaf litter and/or straw will help your bird keep their feet dry even when it does rain, and as it slowly composts down, it will continue to shed water and provide you an excellent soil amendment for the rest of your yard. Cold composting like that will also help with smell. And its free (apart from purchase of a rake, and some manual labor gathering it in the yard).
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,842
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WA, Pac NW
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Overall, your space is too small for your flock size - but that's a different subject.

I'd save the money you were going to put to concrete, repurpose it for enlarging the run and the coop, using the effort to re-grade the land in and out to encourage water to flow away from both. Oh, and add ventilation to the coop when you do. Your birds may not sleep inside either because they prefer sleeping outside (will often be the case, even on cold days (to us) so long as its not also raining on them or windy), or because they find the coop wet/stuffy - which is often the case when the hen house looks like a dark, poorly ventilated box.

Then, a few inches of leaf litter and/or straw will help your bird keep their feet dry even when it does rain, and as it slowly composts down, it will continue to shed water and provide you an excellent soil amendment for the rest of your yard. Cold composting like that will also help with smell. And its free (apart from purchase of a rake, and some manual labor gathering it in the yard).

x2. I wouldn't do concrete... it's not going to fix the issue if rain is blowing in and it's also hard on their feet. Chickens want to scratch around. You still need to put in some form of litter but without the soil underneath, you won't get any composting action, so deep litter won't work well, and it probably won't stay dry enough for sand to be a good option either. Straw in a wet environment may be prone to molding, as it's hollow and will collect moisture.

Also regarding the size of set up - if you consider this as a coop only, where the chickens can come and go during the day and have free access to the yard, this is plenty big. However if they have to stay in there full time or most of the time, yes it's way too small.
 

briteday

Crowing
12 Years
Dec 16, 2008
1,223
138
266
Northern Nevada USA
I also would not do concrete. As a quick solution you might try sourcing some free wooden pallets to use as a "floor" in your run. It would be a cheap fix, readily available for free (I can find them on Craigslist anytime for free in my area), and easy to replace.
I assume you are working on a different coop and putting it up off the ground is a good idea in a wet climate. As long as they have a dry and ventilated space to sleep in they will be fine.
Before they get much bigger I would do something about enlarging the run. The whole set up is just too small for the number of birds you have. Can you move it elsewhere in the yard where the drainage is better?
 

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