Two Questions RE: coop design. Coop and Covered Run

LightedPrism

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Nov 13, 2020
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OK. I have 2 questions.

1st, in my area there is almost everything predator wise. We are on 11 acres and almost everything has been seen in our area. I mean bobcats, fox, coyotes (Packs. I've heard packs) wild dogs, possoms, and pretty much anything but wolves. we've seen cougars, and bears. Sorry I love the diversity in the area, its part of what called to me.

So with that understanding I have been planning an almost fort nox of coops. I mean I was going to dig at least 3ft into the ground, lay cement have hardwire (1/4 in) put Into the cement and at least 6ft above general ground. After the cement I was going to add 2ft of dirt / soil and then put in a few crops for the birds.

but that will show later, either on this thread or a new one once i get all my plans drawn out so people with more knowledge can give recommendations. I just worry about these two questions since either will effect the way i draw it out. Sooo onto the questions!

My first question, I was just reading something on here about that read to me initially of cured cement taking water out of the dirt. do you think i would have much issue with that, even with how much dirt / soil i plan to put in? Or was i totally reading that wrong? (If i find it I’ll post it, just to show im not -totally- crazy)

my 2nd question, I was planning to do sand under the roost in the coop on poop boards. But watching these chicks, i had one (im thinking) buff orpington, that was thrown in with them. She does a lot of roosting in the branch in there with them. but all the faverolles seem to be more ground birds? If they are, can i still use sand in a way or would DLM be more reasonable? understanding that i cant always go out of physical clean the coop daily which is why the two methods that are a little less daily and more something that can go on a week (or longer in the DLM) without totally needed to hard core fix / clean.
 
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416bigbore

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Hello, Not sure if I understand your question about cement taking water out of the dirt? Dry cement mix from a bag dumped into a deep post hole, will take whatever moister is there from the ground to help set up the dry cement mix. IMO, not the best way to mix cement, but people do it!

Cured cement will not draw water into it like a sponge. You can have a little moister on the outside surface pores if you don't use some type of sealer on it to keep the water out. Concrete sealer is used on exposed flat smooth surfaces like shop and garage floors and not concrete that is covered with dirt. Hope that helped answer your question on the concert. :)

People use sand, I am not a big fan of it for poultry because of the risk of an impacted crop from it. I say Risk and don't mean it will happen, but it can happen. I would use whatever you can find that is easy to clean up and soft on their feet so you don't have to worry about bumble foot issues starting, Pine Shavings work well.

Best of luck and please keep us posted on your progress, pics would be awesome also . :yesss:
 
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DobieLover

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OK. I have 2 questions.

1st, in my area there is almost everything predator wise. We are on 11 acres and almost everything has been seen in our area. I mean bobcats, fox, coyotes (Packs. I've heard packs) wild dogs, possoms, and pretty much anything but wolves. we've seen cougars, and bears. Sorry I love the diversity in the area, its part of what called to me.

So with that understanding I have been planning an almost fort nox of coops. I mean I was going to dig at least 3ft into the ground, lay cement have hardwire (1/4 in) put Into the cement and at least 6ft above general ground. After the cement I was going to add 2ft of dirt / soil and then put in a few crops for the birds.

My first question, I was just reading something on here about cement taking water out of the dirt. do you think i would have much issue with that, even with how much dirt / soil i plan to put in?

my 2nd question, I was planning to do sand under the roost in the coop. But watching these chicks, i had one (im thinking) buff orpington, that was thrown in with them. She does a lot of roosting in the branch in there with them. but all the faverolles seem to be more ground birds? If they are, can i still use sand in a way or would DLM be more reasonable?
The cement really isn't necessary.
With the cast of characters you have, I would build something similar to what I have.
finished coop and run.jpg

Solid roof run with 1/2" hardware cloth walls.
All windows/gable vents covered with 1/2" hardware cloth.
2' HC apron around the entire setup.
The entire thing surrounded by poultry netting charged with 10,000 volts.
But in your situation, I would not allow the birds out of the run and would run 2 or three hot wires on the coop/run directly. Running hot wires would be key.

As for coop maintenance, I use Sweet PDZ in poop boards under the roosts and clean them each morning. The coop floor gets a thick layer hemp bedding or pine shavings that is cleaned out once a year. I stopped using sand with the chickens as it adds more dust to an already extremely dusty environment.

With a set up like this, the pop door between the coop and the run are never closed so the run is basically an outdoor extension of the coop. The vast majority of the poop is either cold composting in the thick layer of wood chips in the run or is manually removed from the boards in the morning and dumped into the compost bin.
 
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LightedPrism

Chirping
Nov 13, 2020
78
141
63
Cottonwood CA
Hello, Not sure if I understand your question about cement taking water out of the dirt? Dry cement mix from a bag dumped into a deep post hole, will take whatever moister is there from the ground to help set up the dry cement mix. IMO, not the best way to mix cement, but people do it!

Cured cement will not draw water into it like a sponge. You can have a little moister on the outside surface pores if you don't use some type of sealer on it to keep the water out. Concrete sealer is used on exposed flat smooth surfaces like shop and garage floors and not concrete that is covered with dirt. Hope that helped answer your question on the concert. :)
bah sorry that wasnt making sense, i was planning to mix then pour and was just worried about it after its cured? (I think thats the term?) I‘ll see if i can find that bit about concrete again see if i read it weird. It did read weird to me, so yes you helped with the question thank you!

People use sand, I am not a big fan of it for poultry because of the risk of an impacted crop from it. I say Risk and don't mean it will happen, but it can happen. I would use whatever you can find that is easy to clean up and soft on their feet so you don't have to worry about bumble foot issues starting, Pine Shavings work well.
yeah I’ve seen impacted crop, which is why my original plan was to just have it on the poop boards Then DLM on the floor they were not previously going to be sleeping on. But with the little raptors in training not using the roosts....

Would it be possible to build like a bit of an elevated bed area with pine shavings or such for them to use to get out of the sand or dirty litter?

i would feel bad them sleeping on dirty litter with the deep litter method, or sand. I cant always get out every day, i have health issues that can knock me out for anything more than just basic movement for a weekish at a time. Hence the less daily option.

Best of luck and please keep us posted on your progress, pics would be awesome also . :yesss:
oh definitely will be pics. I intend to make a few more threads with questions / asking for recommendations then a huge thread when im ready to start. Im going to upload my plans in the next few days, hopefully, then start work! *fingers crossed* I’ll include all the little things / ideas I plan to use to help me on the times i cant do much as well! Maybe it will help others.

The cement really isn't necessary.

The entire thing surrounded by poultry netting charged with 10,000 volts.
But in your situation, I would not allow the birds out of the run and would run 2 or three hot wires on the coop/run directly. Running hot wires would be key.
yeah the concrete is also to help keep things level, stable, and to ease my mind a bit. I am in ca so earthquakes, and minor flooding is also being prepared for. Im hoping this sucker will be around for a long time.

How do you charge the poultry netting? Or am I misunderstanding? I didnt think about running hot wire around it, though that has potential for a few different projects, hmmm have to look into it more thank you :)


As for coop maintenance, I use Sweet PDZ in poop boards under the roosts and clean them each morning.
Ah but see, if they are on the ground sleepers, i cant Do poop boards, which is what i was planing to do >_<

The vast majority of the poop is either cold composting in the thick layer of wood chips in the run or is manually removed from the boards in the morning and dumped into the compost bin.
so other than the boards you do the DLM?
 

3KillerBs

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Concrete is semi-porous so after the curing it will absorb moisture from the environment it's in but not "steal" water in any significant sense for a livestock pen (was the information in a gardening context? You have to water a concrete planter box more than a plastic planter box).

The entire thing surrounded by poultry netting charged with 10,000 volts.
But in your situation, I would not allow the birds out of the run and would run 2 or three hot wires on the coop/run directly. Running hot wires would be key.
Hot wires were the first thing that came to my mind when reading that list of predators. Hot wire and a strong charger is the only way to stop bears.

I wonder if it would also be a good idea to back the hardware cloth with cattle panels as backup insurance? I once had *something* severely damage but not quite get through my hardware cloth -- and this was in-town so the candidates were a big raccoon or a very determined dog (ground was too dry and hard to take prints).
 

416bigbore

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@LightedPrism You could build them some type of elevated bed area as you mentioned. I myself would put some type of perch in there that they all can roost on for the night.
 

DobieLover

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Concrete is semi-porous so after the curing it will absorb moisture from the environment it's in but not "steal" water in any significant sense for a livestock pen (was the information in a gardening context? You have to water a concrete planter box more than a plastic planter box).



Hot wires were the first thing that came to my mind when reading that list of predators. Hot wire and a strong charger is the only way to stop bears.

I wonder if it would also be a good idea to back the hardware cloth with cattle panels as backup insurance? I once had *something* severely damage but not quite get through my hardware cloth -- and this was in-town so the candidates were a big raccoon or a very determined dog (ground was too dry and hard to take prints).
If you had hot wires around the setup, there would have been no damage. One pop to the nose and whatever did it would have turned tail and headed for high ground.
 

LightedPrism

Chirping
Nov 13, 2020
78
141
63
Cottonwood CA
Concrete is semi-porous so after the curing it will absorb moisture from the environment it's in but not "steal" water in any significant sense for a livestock pen (was the information in a gardening context? You have to water a concrete planter box more than a plastic planter box).
no it was here, but im starting to think i misread it =/ at least that means previous plans are still viable.


Hot wires were the first thing that came to my mind when reading that list of predators. Hot wire and a strong charger is the only way to stop bears.

I wonder if it would also be a good idea to back the hardware cloth with cattle panels as backup insurance? I once had *something* severely damage but not quite get through my hardware cloth -- and this was in-town so the candidates were a big raccoon or a very determined dog (ground was too dry and hard to take prints).
yeah i dont want things digging under the coop either, gods knows i have enough holes on the property to be all kinds of things. So you think maybe using the cattle panels as a support? I was planing for support bars (wood) to be every 4 ft or so.


@LightedPrism You could build them some type of elevated bed area as you mentioned. I myself would put some type of perch in there that they all can roost on for the night.
see the little jerkfaces have perches currently in their brooder, but with all but 1 not using it, i figured id prepare for it. =/ brats
 

DobieLover

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Ah but see, if they are on the ground sleepers, i cant Do poop boards, which is what i was planing to do >_<
You have Silkies?

so other than the boards you do the DLM?
No. My coop just doesn't need to be cleaned out but once a year because of the pop door being open to the run all the time. They do most of the pooping over the boards during the night and poop in the run during the day. It cold composts in the wood chips in the run. I don't remove anything from the run, just rake it out occasionally and add fresh wood chips annually.
 

DobieLover

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see the little jerkfaces have perches currently in their brooder, but with all but 1 not using it, i figured id prepare for it. =/ brats
Chicks don't roost on their own. They need to be taught by their mother to roost. Without a mother, they will eventually figure it out or you have to teach them.
 

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