Utilizing underneath deck for run and stairwell for coop

Onyxflock

Songster
Jan 25, 2020
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415
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Onyx, Ca ... Kern River Valley
I have to do something ASAP for my chicks safety since our neighbor now has a dog and my chicks are getting out of my wrought-iron fencing and going into her yard...and my husband is uncooperative with buying anything to use as a coop.
I ran across the open air coop article...

Jen's Hens'- A Southern Texas Coop

So I'm thinking of using 1/2"hardward cloth 19 gauge to enclose the space underneath our deck.
I am going to wrap the underside of the steps alongside the deck with hardware cloth as well (is it bendable - will this be too difficult or do u have better suggestion?) And then staple a tarp under that to waterproof the stairwell so that can be their "coop" area with roost bars.
My idea is the open air coop concept since I need a lot of ventilation due to our climate in TN. I believe this will supply the 3 silkies and 1 polish with enough wind block.
Does this sound like a good alternative and much less expensive? I won't need nesting boxes til January or so cause they are only 8wk old now. I'm attaching current deck and pre-fab coop setup here.
I believe this would check off the following necessities:
  • Protection from other animals
  • Ventilation
  • Protection from wind and rain
View attachment 2743315 View attachment 2743316

I have to do something ASAP for my chicks safety since our neighbor now has a dog and my chicks are getting out of my wrought-iron fencing and going into her yard...and my husband is uncooperative with buying anything to use as a coop.
I ran across the open air coop article...

Jen's Hens'- A Southern Texas Coop

So I'm thinking of using 1/2"hardward cloth 19 gauge to enclose the space underneath our deck.
I am going to wrap the underside of the steps alongside the deck with hardware cloth as well (is it bendable - will this be too difficult or do u have better suggestion?) And then staple a tarp under that to waterproof the stairwell so that can be their "coop" area with roost bars.
My idea is the open air coop concept since I need a lot of ventilation due to our climate in TN. I believe this will supply the 3 silkies and 1 polish with enough wind block.
Does this sound like a good alternative and much less expensive? I won't need nesting boxes til January or so cause they are only 8wk old now. I'm attaching current deck and pre-fab coop setup here.
I believe this would check off the following necessities:
  • Protection from other animals
  • Ventilation
  • Protection from wind and rain
View attachment 2743315 View attachment 2743316
No the deck surface is not waterproof.
After today's heavy rains all day it is clear I will need a larger section just off from under the stairwell to give additional waterproofing....as the plexiglass small roof over their turtle pool full of woodchips is completely flooded...not just wet as it has been after usual rains. This is the depth of my handyman skills at work...see why I'm scared of takin this on...
The green thing on ground underneath the deck is a tarp from where our Rottweiler hung out for shade...grass never grew and hubby did not like the mud it created so he laid down tarps and secured them in place.
The chicks luv hearing their feet on the tarp each d

No the deck surface is not waterproof.
After today's heavy rains all day it is clear I will need a larger section just off from under the stairwell to give additional waterproofing....as the plexiglass small roof over their turtle pool full of woodchips is completely flooded...not just wet as it has been after usual rains. This is the depth of my handyman skills at work...see why I'm scared of takin this on...
The green thing on ground underneath the deck is a tarp from where our Rottweiler hung out for shade...grass never grew and hubby did not like the mud it created so he laid down tarps and secured them in place.
The chicks luv hearing their feet on the tarp each day.
I think you're on the right track. And the answer is Hardware cloth is stiff and sharp so you need to use gloves, but it's a product you can work with without special skills. Much better than chicken wire for predators.
To cut it you need big outdoor scissors or garden clippers, wire cutters. You can likely find the same height as your deck You can attach it by stapling or nailing - but use a U shaped brad rather than nails - unless you bend them over to catch the wire.
A good idea is to fold it bedspread style to lay on the ground around the edges to add protection from digging out. I added railroad ties for a physical barrier. Chickens are Grand Excavators.
Be sure to leave a way to reach under to clean if needed.
To keep it drier you don't need to waterproof the whole deck area. Turn the house so you can access the nest boxes and they can access the run. Cover any open spaces with hardware cloth so it's predator proof. They can get into their house and little run if it's too wet.
If you look around you might find large boxes or crates that you could put down there as another dry hide-out for them. Used pallets are excellent building material for the beginner.
Remove the tarps and put down a deep layer of playground sand there. Can get this at the hardware store - not too expensive or heavy. Sand should mitigate the damp soil some, better than shavings or litter that will get soaked. If you have a dry spell - straw or hay is a fun diversion for them and it helps clean the run when you rake it out.
Points for your hubby:
Under the deck the hens will get bugs
No more tarp or muddy area that he didn't like
The sand is easy to rake up any poo's that are there, and you can throw out dried herbs to freshen up the area.
Most importantly - Happy hens make a Happy Wife ...
 

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