Underground coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChicksNherps, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. ChicksNherps

    ChicksNherps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I saw today some pictures of underground green houses and thought it was genius. Then I got to thinking, why not an underground chicken coop? I wouldn't have to worry about temperature, since below 6 ft always stays around 70F no matter if it's summer or winter! That means so worrying about frozen or fried chickens [​IMG] Does anyone have any thoughts on this or has heard of someone doing this? Here is a picture of my favorite design I have seen

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  2. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    I like the concept, if you have the right soil structure and drainage to do it.... the biggest hurdle I can think of would be ventilation.
    you would need to dig tunnels of some type or some other system to allow fresh air intake around the base of the coop, ventilating through the roof would be easy enough.
     
  3. ChicksNherps

    ChicksNherps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Like pipes? PVC pipes would do the trick don't you think? Have a few running from the base of the inner walls up to the surface, high enough up though so chicks can't climb in. I live in New hampshire where our soil is very rocky, filled with granite, but solid not too sandy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  4. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, I would think PVC piping would work, both ends would need to be covered in hardware cloth at least to prevent rodents entry. The other problems are open dirt walls, no matter how rocky, don't provide security from predators digging in (mice and snakes can get through about anything!) and or erosion/cave in dangers. The walls would also seep a lot, causing very high humidity, which may cause mold growth and possible illness in your birds. So I wouldn't plan to leave it as an open dirt structure.

    I would consider it if I was able to provide good french draining around and under it... then able to pour a cement floor and build cement block walls. to above ground level, then possibly place basement style windows around the tops of the walls for added light and ventilation and a sturdy roof. Making it predator proof and dry enough to be a healthy environment may be a challenge but would sure make for an interesting structure.

    Talk to someone in your area who builds foundations or basements and pick their brain for problems the frequently encounter and how they get around them or deal with them.

    If you decide to do it... take LOTS of pictures to post them, I think it would be an interesting build.
     
  5. ChicksNherps

    ChicksNherps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it's kind of like an old dirt basement? I would have to find out how those were built. But I can also line the walls with chicken wire to keep the rodents and such out.
     
  6. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    I'm sure you could make it work... I didn't mean to sound negative, but there would be a lot of factors to work around. Humidity being one of the hardest, I would think. Lining the inner walls with wire would work, but it would have to be sturdy wire, a critter that can dig through rocky soil wouldn't slow down at all at regular chicken wire.

    Good luck and please post results of your build. I love the old spring houses and root cellar storage shed type buildings, so would love to see how it turns out!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  7. ChicksNherps

    ChicksNherps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just found out my friend who posted about the greenhouses, who also has chickens, was thinking the exact same thing haha! I think it will be a fun project! Also, does water penetrate below 3 ft?

    I was thinking deep pea gravel for the floor rather than concrete. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  8. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    Water filters down through the soil into the ground until it eventually reaches the level of your local water table. The 'below 3 ft' you may be thinking of is what is commonly called the 'frost line' which is the average depth to which water in soil will freeze. This 'frost line' is important because where the ground freezes (actually the ground moisture freezes) the ground is prone to expansion and shifting caused by the expansion of the freezing water molecules. By going 'below the frost line' when building foundations it allows a builder to provide a solid base for a structure that won't be shifted by freeze/thaw cycles.

    Also, the local frost line differs depending on your climate and soil composition, in your area I would expect it to be around the 3 ft mark because of the longer cold weather periods.

    But yes, water will absolutely get into your structure below 3 ft, so drainage solutions have to be planned in. The drainage is an area where a local builder can give you invaluable assistance.

    Your choice of flooring may need to be dictated by the drainage issue more so than preference. I do like pea gravel, but to make it very deep I don't know if it would compact well and may be hard to walk on or clean. If you are using deep litter method then you may find that the pea gravel quickly gets clogged with the composting bedding and it will quit draining well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  9. ChicksNherps

    ChicksNherps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah i'll do some research, thanks [​IMG]
     
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