To poop screen or not to poop screen, that is the question!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PacsMan, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    671
    3
    141
    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    I’m building a new 4’x8’ coop. I have most of it planned out, but have a question on making poop screens.

    I’ll have linoleum on the floor on the whole coop, and under the perch ladder, I plan to put a 4’x4’ hardwire removable poop screen on a 2”x2” frame.

    My questions are;
    Should I put a 2nd removable hardwire poop screen under the other 4x4 section and have the whole floor screened, or just leave 1/2 of the coop linoleum?

    For nest boxes I plan on having roll away boxes with modified Astroturf or thin rubber on the floor, so there won’t be much bedding in the coop. Unless I put it on top of the hardwire cloth. Will straw bedding stay on top of 1x1 hardwire cloth wire?

    What’s easier to clean? Straight linoleum or screened poop on top of linoleum?

    If I do have the whole coop with hardwire cloth wire, is it hard on chickens feet (as opposed to linoleum/bedding?)

    And finally, what’s the best hardwire cloth size for letting poop through, but being ok for chickens to walk on?

    Thanks!
    Marty

    p.s. We’re in Salt Lake so they will spend some time in the coop during the winter.
     
  2. flopshot

    flopshot Chillin' With My Peeps

    513
    1
    141
    Feb 17, 2009
    i can't see wire being easy to clean. i'd go with flooring or for a lighter wieght board use some formica or a panel of shower board.
     
  3. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    671
    3
    141
    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    Quote:(Admittedly, I don't have any experience with coops yet. My 12 10-week old chicks are in a tractor with no floor but...]
    Wouldn't poop droppings through a screen be easier to sweep off of linoleum rather than scraping off packed poop stuck to linoleum? [​IMG]

    Anyone?
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    To my mind the ideal arrangement is a solid board that you scrape clean every morning when you let the chickens out (takes literally 10 seconds, then you dump the bucket on the compost pile). Does wonders for coop air quality too.

    If for some reason you don't want to clean the droppings board every morning, then there is something to be said for screening it so that the birds can't tromple in it. There's a real tradeoff, though, between having the screen big enough that not too much poo gets stuck on top of it, and having it small enough mesh that chickens' feet don't go thru if they try to hop onto it. And the more poo you let accumulate, the more ventilation you will need [​IMG]

    If you want some of the floor to be *just* screen, though, remember it will get cold and drafty in the wintertime (dunno how cold your winters get though) and may need a well-cut sheet of plywood or something put on it for those months.

    As for having the chickens walking on a wire floor, some people do it and say the chickens seem ok with it. I wouldn't do it myself, but to each their own. I gather it has to be hosed to clean (there is NO mesh size such taht poo will fall through but not chickens' feet -- chickens have remarkably large-caliber poo, remember [​IMG])

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    671
    3
    141
    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    Quote:Great advice Pat.

    Let me ask three more questions then;

    1) If I have a perch ladder, are they going to poop more there, than on the other parts of the coop?

    2) If I clean it out daily, then I shouldn’t even bother with screens, right?

    And finally...

    3) If I clean it out daily, then do I add more straw/bedding daily? That seems like a lot of wasted bedding each morning…

    Oh, and high desert mountain snow storms can get nasty! But, I guess that why the ski industry is so big in Utah!

    Thanks!
    Marty
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    78
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Well, you're going to have SOME sort of roost, be it ladder style or just a single tier, right? (they need it to sleep on at night). They will do nearly half of their daily 'output' from the roost. So, no matter what style your roost is, yes, the area below it will get disproportionately pooed on, which is the reason for putting a droppings board under it. (Perhaps there has been some confusion, the whole concept of a droppings board or pit is that it goes *under the roost*, yes? [​IMG])

    2) If I clean it out daily, then I shouldn’t even bother with screens, right?
    And finally...
    3) If I clean it out daily, then do I add more straw/bedding daily? That seems like a lot of wasted bedding each morning…

    It depends what you mean by "it" (sorry [​IMG])

    If you mean a droppings board just under the roost (only), such as the one you will see in the photo of my sussexes on my personal page (link at left), then yes, scrape it clean each morning and that's fine.

    If however you mean 'the coop floor in general', then not really. The pooing they do during the day is done all over, wherever they happen to be standing at the time, and they will tromple it onto the floor something awful if there is no bedding just bare floor. This makes it much much harder to scrape off, plus it gets their feet and feathers all yucky and isn't really good for them. So unless you use a wire floor -- which is not an option in bad wintertime weather, thus you will have to have a solid floor for at least some of the year and possibly all year -- you WILL need bedding. Shavings, chopped straw, whatever.

    There are a lot of different ways to manage bedding and you will probably want to experiment til you find something you're happy with. Some people put donw only the thinnest layer and remove it entirely (with its associated poo) every day. Others put donw a bit more and clean every few days or week or two (this is what I do in my small tractor). Still others just add more clean bedding on top as things get too yucky and maybe pick out just the pooiest places from time to time, going a potentially-long time before doing a wholesale cleanout of the bedding. (The latter is 'the deep litter method' at least in the larger sense -- it is what I do for my 'real' pens -- and except in very humid areas it works pretty well IMHO in terms of economy, good air quality, and healthy and congenial living conditions for the hens.)

    I don't think it's really possible to say firmly which management systems use ('waste') the least bedding material, because so much depends on exactly HOW you are doing them and everyone is different.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by