Terrible Coop Situation!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Crazy for Chickens!, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Crazy for Chickens!

    Crazy for Chickens! Free Ranging

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    Ok, so i have a terrible coop situation, and i've been putting it off, but i decided that i needed to post on here and ask for some advice. I have a coop that's just a wood frame with tin on the outside and a dirt bottom. It used to be an old milk barn, and we just moved it to use for a chicken coop. It has a divider wall in it, with the roosts on one side, and the nesting area on the other side. Then there's 2 big doors that are just metal hardware cloth. These are probably 10 feet tall or so, and 5 feet wide. One goes to the roosting area, and the other goes to the nesting area.
    I have 30 chickens, and they free range all day, so aren't in the coop very much. Since the floor is dirt, i have a hard time keeping it clean. I try and clean out all the poo and put more bedding in it occasionally. Wild birds practically live in there, because they can fit through the doors. So they eat the feed, and poop in there.
    Another problem is, almost all my birds have scaly leg mites. I've tried vaseline several times, but i figure they live on the roosts.
    I'm going to go out and post pics in the morning, but here are some of my questions:
    1. Do i have enough ventilation?
    2. How am i supposed to treat these leg mites?
    3. How do i clean/manage my coop floors, considering they are dirt?

    You'll probably have to wait for pics to answer these questions. I just decided I'd go ahead and post. It's dark outside now, so will post pics in the morning.
    I might come up with more questions tomorrow!
    Thanks for looking!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

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    My shed is similar, although we swapped out the tin for wood over the past few years. We use a couple of different substrates depending on where they are in the shed. We have added some concrete floors in some areas as well.

    We use gravel in some areas, sand in others, and a mix of shavings, hay or mulch in other areas. Wild birds get in my shed too, mostly sparrows and starlings. We are constantly managing them by busting up nests and other eradication techniques. We will never be without them.

    I have never dealt with scaly leg mites, so I can't help with that unfortunately.

    I will look forward to your pictures.
     
  3. Crazy for Chickens!

    Crazy for Chickens! Free Ranging

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    I'm glad to hear from someone with a similar setup! I don't think i can afford concrete, but gravel is a good idea. I'll have to look into that.
     
  4. paintedChix

    paintedChix Songster

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    Do you have trees in your area?

    I posted a lot of info on this thread - https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...oop-run-flooring.1290495/page-5#post-20969369 and I started on Post #44, then a few more later with my view on DLM in coops/runs with a lot of pictures.

    My pen/coops are all generally about 8x8" (2 are 4x8') and directly on the ground as well. I started with 3 - 8x8' tractor coops at our previous property and they became permanent here as pulling them like tractors was tearing them apart on this property. The property came with 4 approximately 8x8 pens about 3.5' tall - 1 with a flat wire roof, 1 with a flat wire and tin roof and 2 with no roofs at all. I finally started working on them this year - hooping them with cattle panel (CP) to allow me to stand up in them while working with the birds and collecting eggs. Then I also have just completed three more on the backside of those 4 (will be 8 total when I'm done). I do plan on building a couple more as well, plus need to put up some paddock/run fencing and do some tractors as well.

    I don't have wild birds at this property in my coops. More problems with wasps than birds.

    I have recently lost a whole lot of birds in 3 differently distinct areas on our property that were free ranging during the day. Think was a coyote in most cases and possibly an owl for two others that had started roosting in a tree over an 8' tall fenced run that they'd figured out how to get out of. I have decided that when I finally remove all the wire from the top of this coop that I will completely rip out the wood framing & wire walls as well. Then will do an 8' wide run on the truck topper coop with a gate beside it to access the run that is now 8' x 16'. Then will install another truck topper that I have and do another hooped run that is 8' x 16' next to it... May take a while to get it all done, but will get there. I have a lot of birds of different breeds, will be narrowing focus a bit for breeding groups - until then any that I don't choose to keep, we use for egg laying or process for eating.

    Looking forward to seeing your pics, too.

    As to making more affordable cement - if you really want a solid floor - you could look at making your own "garden walk" type blocks by combining either Portland cement or quickrete with shredded paper to make "papercrete" blocks. Once the blocks are made and cured, you move them where you want them - set up on sand or fine gravel. You can make wooden forms or even use card board boxes as your forms. I am just getting ready to do this and can let you know how it goes...

    garden stepping stones , hand made stepping stones, how to make papercrete, small batch papercrete

    hmm, must have done the links wrong as I seem to have them all the same. :(
    Will have to work on that another day.

    Mites. I had a difficult time getting rid of those in a much smaller flock in a coop that had almost no wood in it (but mites may have gotten down into litter?) - mites came from birds I purchased and brought in and didn't see any mites on them during the quarantine period - didn't see at all for a long time then suddenly their legs started looking weird as the waste from the mites pushed up their scales causing swelling and "ick".. Warm water to soak legs, Vaseline on the legs to "drown" the mites (I never tried castor or baby oil, but understand they can work as well?), dusting the birds with DE and using Nu-Stock directly on birds around areas with mites (below vent, on featherless belly/chest, on tops of heads). Putting both DE (heavy amount) and wood ash in their dust baths. I noticed when they started free ranging that they went right to an area where we'd done a bunch of burning and would dust bathe in the ashes (but it wasn't just wood that had been burned...). Im not sure that I've gotten rid of the mites. A new flock in the coop - we'll see if any of them seem to be affected. I HOPE NOT. Do a search for "BeeKissed" - and read her articles regarding the health of a flock and also about the DLM. You'll be glad you did.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  5. Farmgirl1878

    Farmgirl1878 Songster

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  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    They don't live on the roosts so much...vaseline will kill them if applied every week for a month, but the scales may never look the same so it's hard to know if the mites are still there or it's just scar tissue still raising the scales.

    Yes, pics of coop would be of great help, worth a thousand words.
     
  7. Crazy for Chickens!

    Crazy for Chickens! Free Ranging

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    Ok, finally got some pictures. We are having a minor ice storm right now, so that's why everything is icy in the pics.
    So here's the front and side of my coop:
    IMG_0001 (2).JPG IMG_0002 (2).JPG
    This is one of the 2 doors:
    IMG_0003 (3).JPG
    This is the roosting area:
    IMG_0004 (2).JPG IMG_0005 (2).JPG
    I have a dividing wall in the middle, to block off the cold wind/draft that flows through from door to door.
    IMG_0006 (2).JPG
    The door opens into the roosting area:
    IMG_0007 (3).JPG
    This is the floor. It's really gross right now. I need to get it cleaned. Any bedding i put in there, they scratch it around so much, then poop on top of it, and it just gets smashed into the ground.
    IMG_0008 (1).JPG
    This is looking out the door from the roosting part of the coop. I propped up some boards to try and keep some of the wind out. Is there still enough venilation? I'm just afraid they will get cold. I have a heat lamp in there for really cold nights.
    IMG_0010 (1).JPG
    I also have a major problem with wetness. Any time it rains, it just seeps in everywhere, and i have giant puddles in the middle of my coop.
    IMG_0011.JPG (this is just a corner, not really bad)
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Is it seeping in under the bottom edge of wall from run off...
    .....or coming thru the open mesh windows and doors?
     
    Crazy for Chickens! likes this.
  9. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Songster

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    I have bare floors but I use the deep litter method (sort of) The pine shavings have built up several inches deep which absorbs the droppings and keeps the floor warmer. I say I sort of use the deep litter method because I take out much of their droppings daily and remove them from the coop to keep moisture down. I understand moisture is a big no no especially in the winter. Frostbite on roosters. I replenish the areas I sweep out daily with new pine shavings.
    When spring comes I will remove the existing litter and put in a layer of new pine shavings. I actually haven't done it this past year so it is due. Over time the litter will build up again. Its probably 8 in deep in some places.
    I have had to build out roofs to keep rain out. Most (half) of my coop is hardwire and open. In the winter I put up 2 layers of curtains to keep out the wind and cold. I'm in GA in the mountains and it easily gets down below freezing here. My birds are mixed banties so they are small. They survive though even without any heat. I agonize over this every year but always end up deciding I don't want to burn the coop down. If they can do it in Alaska without heat then we can too.
    Good luck.
     
  10. Crazy for Chickens!

    Crazy for Chickens! Free Ranging

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    I think it comes in underneath the walls. When it rains, there's usually runoff that runs down beside the coop in a crack, and I think it seeps.in. I've tried putting more dirt up against the wall on the inside, but it hasn't helped much.
     

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