Run floor - wire under dirt?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by russell2pi, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. russell2pi

    russell2pi Hatching

    Sep 9, 2011
    Hello all, first post, have spent a lot of time reading through these very helpful forums but would like to ask a question.

    We are first-timers looking at getting a couple of hens and housing them in one of those ebay jobs, a run plus an elevated house. However, we are concerned about foxes. We plan to place it adjacent to our back fence (post and wire), which backs on to farm land. I have put half-inch chicken wire the length of the fence and dug it in, in the hope of keeping out foxes, snakes and rats... BUT at one end this was not possible due to tree roots. And guess what, that's also the end where the coop will go. So I'm also not able to give the run a wire skirt that is dug into the ground.

    So, what I'm planning and would like feedback on is this:

    Put a wire floor on the run, and then put down a 2-inch layer of compacted dirt on top of this. Then put down straw etc for the hens. The idea being that the straw can be removed and the compacted dirt swept out before putting a fresh load in.

    I have read that bare wire floors were a problem in terms of feet getting stuck in them, not to mention feathers, poo etc, plus being an unpleasant surface for the hens. So I'm hoping a layer of dirt would be a way to get the security of wire with the ergonomics of dirt?

    What do you think?
  2. PEI chicken

    PEI chicken Songster

    Aug 13, 2010
    I have a suggestion that may work out well for you. This idea is from Storeys Guide to Raising Chickens, as a low cost alternative to concrete floor.

    Mix one part dry cement with three parts rock-free or sifted soil, and spread 4 to 6 inches over plain dirt. Level the mixed soil, and use a dirt tamper to poound it smooth. Mist the floor lightly with water, and let it set for several days before turning the chickens in. You ll end up with a firm floor that is easy to maintain.

    You could still place wire underneath for extra security.
    I would like to hear if anyone has tried this. I considered making a ground level coop before making my current raised coop, and may go back to that idea again if I ever need a larger coop.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    In reality the run does not need to be digging predator proof. If your coop is secure and when keep girls in run for day it can stop a stray dog from charging through your all set. Most attacks, other than stray dogs and hawks, are at night when they should be in a secure coop sleeping.
  4. Animalian

    Animalian Songster

    Jun 18, 2011
    could you make a concrete floor for it? Like sit it on a concrete slab? I have that with an "off ebay" coop with sand over the concrete inside. I made the concrete slab quite thick so its raised because we get flooded here
  5. jamuso

    jamuso Hatching

    Jul 4, 2011
    I built my run - i ran wire along the ground...covered with 3-4 inches of gravel and then with 5-6 inches of sand. The birds love it. I've only had one incident and that was a raccoon that tried to dig in from the outside...more so that the food dispenser was hanging on the inside of the run right there than the chickens inside. I feel that if you can line the run with wire and cover deep enough where the birds arent affected - it's a solid alternative that aproning wire on the outside. Especially if you're working over tree roots, rocky soil etc....
  6. boogiedog

    boogiedog Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    Ditto Jamuso. I put wire under my run, and dirt on top. I compost my pine litter from the coop into the run - the ladies love it, and it is building a nice topsoil. I also skirted out my 1x1 welded wire, which had been used on the sides of the run. Better the two nothing has gotten in, although a burrowing predator made a valiant attempt on evening.

    BTW I have never had to rake out my run - and except in the wettest of weather never had an odor problem.
  7. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Songster

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    Hi from Ga. Your plans might be overkill some people put down an apron around their coop. ( lay wire on the ground around the coop and cove with dirt ) A lot less work and pretty affective. [​IMG]
  8. russell2pi

    russell2pi Hatching

    Sep 9, 2011
    Thanks very much everyone. I might see if I can get away with the apron idea.

    BTW I am in Australia (can't seem to edit profile), so no rocky rackoons etc here [​IMG]. Foxes and perhaps wedge-tailed eagles would be the main problems.
  9. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I use an apron here's a picture.[​IMG]
  10. Animalian

    Animalian Songster

    Jun 18, 2011
    Quote:watch out for rats and snakes too they'll eat them alive! That's why I have mine on the slab! Nice small mesh helps too! [​IMG]

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