Small coop concerns

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by littlejohnacres, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. littlejohnacres

    littlejohnacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2016
    Casstown, Ohio
    Good Morning,
    I have a little coop with 4 Isa's right now. My concern is my roost height. I was wondering if I could raise it and try to add a poop board? It is really cold here in Ohio and the girls are staying in most of the time so I am having a hard time trying to keep it clean. I was also wondering if I could use Sweet PDZ instead of shavings? I also have their food and water in the coop because they aren't going outside much right now. Should I try to put it outside to encourage them to go out more? There is snow on the ground now and temp have been in single digits. Thanks for any help. I am new at this :)


  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Is it pretty windy? You might find they spend a lot more time outside if you set up a wind break. It was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit when I took this. I left the pop door open and they chose to go outside. If it had been windy they would not have been there. Putting food and water outside will encourage them to go out more but you may still find a wind break helps.


    Those small coops can be a challenge to do much with them. Often they are vertically challenged as well as limited floor space. There are all kinds of poop boards, some you scrape off, some people use bins they can empty, some build trays that can slide out. It doesn’t really matter how much room the roosts are above the “bin”, just that you can clean it. Some people use PDZ, sand, shavings, or leave them empty or bare. I’m sure you can come up with a way to collect the poop from the roosts. If your door is big enough an easy way may be to get a plastic bin from Walmart and slip that under the roosts. Access may be limited though.
  3. littlejohnacres

    littlejohnacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2016
    Casstown, Ohio
    It has been a little windy but not to bad. I have a bale of straw on one side. I might try to get more or put a tarp or plastic up. Thanks for the help. I am still figuring this out and having fun in the process.
  4. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I would definitely put a clear tarp or 6+ ml plastic over the run, on the top and 1-2 sides that get hit hardest by the weather. Block the wind, and they will be happier to go outside.

    Yes you can use Sweet PDZ instead of shavings. I have a small coop, and use Stall Dry (not exactly the same, but same idea) on my coop floor. The roost is over the next boxes which are on the ground, and there's vinyl flooring on the 'poop board'. I dust the poop board with the Stall dry after scooping poop in the morning. So if you can modify your coop in this way, I think you'd be happy with it.

    With protection, my chickens spend their time in the run, where their food and water is. They are only in the coop to lay eggs and sleep.

    I think you can encourage them to go outside.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  5. littlejohnacres

    littlejohnacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2016
    Casstown, Ohio
    Thanks so much!!
  6. JacksFarmNGardn

    JacksFarmNGardn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2015
    New York
    I have a relatively small coop for my 6 as well. They dont have roosts,but an upside down mini pallet. It has the beams supporting the "floor". I use pine shavings,the mess collects in there and i can just take the pallet out and clean the mess. Winter time is just not an easy time period! I also keep the food and water outside. It encourages them to come out and get some excersize. I also don't want any more of a mess inside.
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Covering your run with plastic - at the very least the sides that take the most wind - is your best bet as far as encouraging them to leave the coop and exercise. The more "outside" time they get from the coop, the better off they'll be. If they are confined to the coop all the time, they can start to get, well, weird! They can start pecking feathers out of boredom, ganging up on a single chicken, fighting, egg eating......simply trying to get them out of the close quarters of the coop makes a difference there. Mine only go into the coop to lay and sleep, even when it's 20 below zero. Their run is covered, so it's dry and draft free, and they are out there long before I even get up. Sure cuts down on poop in the coop, too!
    1 person likes this.
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    You know, I start to get weird(er) when I'm confined to the house with other people, too! Makes me want to peck at someone [​IMG]
    2 people like this.
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Op, the photos convey a lot. Yes the roosts are too low. Raise them as high as you can so the birds can walk upright under them, 18" min if you have the headroom.

    I would keep the food and water in the coop. They choose to stay inside for a reason.
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Shovel a path in the snow or throw some straw down so they don't have to walk in the snow then put the feeder outside to make them go outside and save floor space.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by