Suspended chicken coop- why not?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by enrgizerbunny, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. enrgizerbunny

    enrgizerbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've tried searching for this and I haven't had much luck. I want to have 2 laying hens and my plan is to suspend the entire coop/run area underneath my shed. My shed is built on a hill and the bottom of the floor joists are ~4ft off the ground at their highest point. This will allow me to easily add power for a light/heat lamp.

    The "run" area will consist of a floor of 1/4" hardware cloth, allowing feces to drop through to the ground similar to hog houses. I am contemplating whether the indoor part will have mesh floor as well. Measurements are looking like 8'x3'x2'(tall) with a nesting box/feeder/roost area of 3'x3'x2' within that footprint. The indoor area will have a feeding trough and a watering apparatus.

    I know pictures are worth a thousand words, but I'm planning to build this tomorrow and I'll get them up. I mainly want to know what problems the chickens could face living in these conditions. Everything I know about backyard chickens is that most breeds are hardy and I could see making a tractor to put them out in the yard occasionally, but they'll be living under the shed mainly.
     
  2. MaLoTu

    MaLoTu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not an expert on chickens and coop building, but I can give you my novice opinion. Chickens really like to scratch the ground and the mesh floor (while convenient for you) will totally prevent them from that. They also really enjoy laying in the sun and dust bathing, I am not sure if they will have sun light or not, but I am certain they cannot dust bathe.They like to perch and 2 feet of height wont give them the ability to have a roosting bar.
     
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  3. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Constantly being on wire, be ready for foot issues. I'd have the ground with some wire covered with bedding of some kind as the floor if you are concerned with predators but they NEED something other than wire under them for healthy feet. And that doesn't even address their happiness or lack of it since they no longer will have the ability to peck at the ground for the odd bug, dirt, grit and such.
     
  4. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, you're going to be culling a lot of bird for bumblefoot.
     
  5. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One more thing to mention, plan for three, not two, hens. You never know when an illness or predator will take one hen and they NEED to live in a group. They are social creatures and thrive in groups. If you only have two and one dies, you will have a MISERABLE hen and it is very hard to just shove two chickens together.
     
  6. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    I'd also be concerned that they could trap a toe in the wire floor. Although chicken walk about looking like they've got flat feet, they've got feet like other birds, feet that curl, feet that than grip a perch. Those toes curling to grip could be entrapped by the wire. I know bunnies are put in that type of arrangement, but bunny feet are different. I'd definitely put another floor over the wire, I wouldn't have them walking about on wire.
     
  7. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Health of the bird is primary and standing on wire will create foot issues including bumblefoot.

    Beyond that, chicken poop will not fall through 1/4 inch wire. It won't fall through 1/2 inch wire. Chicken poop can be rather solid and droppings from full size birds can be substantial in size. You're going to have chicken poop embedded, dried, and caked in that wire in no time flat.

    There's a reason you've not found much about this online. While good in theory, it isn't practical.
     
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  8. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Yes, good point, I hadn't thought of that. Their poo is big. Again, when bunnies go in those cages, their bunny poo, being little round balls, can fall through.
     
  9. MaLoTu

    MaLoTu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you considered making a coop that utilizes one half side of the shed from ground to the under floor of the shed (so it would be 4ft tall and 4 ft long? A vertical half vs. a horizontal half). You will want to add a run area and hopefully that can just be an addition to the outside of the shed.
     
  10. enrgizerbunny

    enrgizerbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently acquired plenty of 18 gauge roofing steel, along with reading the updates on this thread. I will be building a coop with the run located directly beneath with the wire buried in the ground. My neighbors say I needn't worry about predators, but I grew up in suburbs (live in neighborhood of rural county now) and I had a whole family of foxes in that much more urban environment. Thanks for the information guys.

    The idea was to have something where the poop couldn't collect, but because of their feet I bought small mesh. It's galvanized so it'll be going on the bottom. Putting it under the shed was because I didn't have any roofing material.
     

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