Some more questions about my first coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by flagg6805, May 21, 2010.

  1. flagg6805

    flagg6805 New Egg

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    May 3, 2010
    Hi All:

    First let me thank everybody who has helped me with the design of my chicken coop. A couple of more questions have come up now that I'm getting ready to build the coop this weekend.

    Location... We are thinking of putting the coop in an area of the backyard that is about 20' from our well. My wife is worried about contaminating our drinking water. I've tried looking up coops and wells, but haven't found much. Does anybody know if there's a min. distance that a coop should be from a well?

    Litter.... Also, we're thinking of using the deep litter method. Originally I was thinking of using pallets for the floor and covering the pallets with linoleum. I've read though that with linoleum there could be issue with the litter not composting. So question is, can I build the coop right on an earthen floor? Just build up the litter directly from the ground up. Will this not be too cold in the winter? (I live in New York and we do get quite a few days of temps in the teens). Anybody have any experience with earthen floors under litter in cold climates?

    I have other questions, but the bell just rang and I have to get to class....

    Thanks for now!

    -Rick
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Location... We are thinking of putting the coop in an area of the backyard that is about 20' from our well. My wife is worried about contaminating our drinking water. I've tried looking up coops and wells, but haven't found much. Does anybody know if there's a min. distance that a coop should be from a well?

    It depends.

    In many areas, you are required by law to have at least 60-150' (laws vary) between a well and any animal/livestock pen.

    If you are going to have a LOT of chickens, I'd suggest going with something like that.

    If it is just a small number of chickens, the two things that mostly influence the likelihood of well contamination are:

    1) topography. The coop should be somewhere such that surface runoff, e.g. after a rain, will run AWAY FROM rather than towards the well.

    2) what your well is like. If it is relatively new and deep and has a modern casing and seals that can be expected to be in good condition, it is likely to be a lot safer to have chickens near the well than if it is an older/shallower/possibly-poorly-lined well.

    Bear in mind that the well issue is not just a matter of your OWN well's safety/drinkability; contamination thru a well can spread thru nearby parts of the aquifer and affect OTHER peoples' wells too.

    Litter.... Also, we're thinking of using the deep litter method. Originally I was thinking of using pallets for the floor and covering the pallets with linoleum. I've read though that with linoleum there could be issue with the litter not composting. So question is, can I build the coop right on an earthen floor? Just build up the litter directly from the ground up. Will this not be too cold in the winter? (I live in New York and we do get quite a few days of temps in the teens). Anybody have any experience with earthen floors under litter in cold climates?

    I don't have a dirt floor but I have bare concrete in one pen which is about the same temperature-wise. (Although my chicken bldg does not get as cold as you might expect from my location, as it is very large and very well insulated). IMO, a dirt (or concrete) floor is fine in cold climates AS LONG AS you will bed it deeply in wintertime, predatorproof it very well (that's the main drawback of dirt floors btw; takes work to digproof, and frankly it's real hard to *rat*-proof 'em), and locate it somewhere that there will NEVER EVER be problems with flooding, from storms or snowmelt.

    I strongly recommend NOT putting linoleum over pallets btw. You will be creating marvellous, perfect rodent habitat under there, and soon will be in the mouse-farming or rat-ranch business. Really! [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. flagg6805

    flagg6805 New Egg

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    May 3, 2010
    Hey Pat, thanks for your reply. I haven't found any information on how close livestock can live to a well, but I do know from when I installed our septic field that it had to be a min of 100' from the well. So I think I'll go with that figure. Plus, where I was planning on putting the coop, it was slightly uphill from the well. Though it is a newer well and I don't have that many chickens (6) I'll think I'll go with somewhere else in the backyard. Problem is that my only real level areas are generally slightly downhill from the rest of the yard.

    As to the floor... here's what I'm thinking, since I see your point about rodent-proofing... What I'm planning is to lay down a 2" - 3" layer of 3/4" gravel. That I think would help with any drainage issues plus it will help me level the pallets. Anybody have any thoughts on that?

    -rick
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:That's not going to stop rodents from moving in. Even if you put hardwarecloth, with the seams sewn together closely using wire, COMPLETELY under all the whole area of gravel, and bent up the edges to meet the coop wall, honestly the chances are pretty good that a mouse would find a way to get in *somewhere* (e.g. by entering the coop when chickens aren't looking, and going downwards into that space) and then, hoo boy, mouse city. Rats too, although they are less ubiquitous in the world than mice are.

    Honestly I wouldn't do it. Or at least i would not do it without a strong and ready-to-hand Plan B for when problems develop.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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