Wood Flooring in Coop - question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LeeLeesFarm, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. LeeLeesFarm

    LeeLeesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone know if plain wood flooring is bad for our chickens? Hard on their feet? Bad to spend much time walking on?

    Also ...
    my d'uccle is an EXTREMELY messy eater, and half her food goes on the wood flooring, along with her droppings. She is then eating her food off the same wood flooring as it sits mixed with her droppings.

    When I put my 8 wk old silkie with the d'uccle during the day (silkie is inside my home at night for warmth) the silkie is also eating off the wood flooring which has the droppings all over.

    How bad is this for hygiene / health?

    Should I have pine shavings? Must I?

    Would shredded newspaper be as good / would it be okay (small rabbitt hutch coop, so not much floor space and I think the pine shavings would be kicked out of the coop to the ground too easily thru the wire sides, whereas shredded paper wouldn't fall out so easily ????? .... just thinking out loud).


    Thoughts about bare wood flooring?


    Thanks,
    Lee

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  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Does anyone know if plain wood flooring is bad for our chickens? Hard on their feet? Bad to spend much time walking on?

    Well, it will be cold in winter (nothing for chickens to snuggle down in for warmth during the day). But the *main* thing is:

    Also ... my d'uccle is an EXTREMELY messy eater, and half her food goes on the wood flooring, along with her droppings. She is then eating her food off the same wood flooring as it sits mixed with her droppings. When I put my 8 wk old silkie with the d'uccle during the day (silkie is inside my home at night for warmth) the silkie is also eating off the wood flooring which has the droppings all over.
    How bad is this for hygiene / health?

    Fairly bad. No animal does well stomping around in wet feces all the time and eating pooey food. There are a variety of things that chickens can get (salmonella and coccidiosis come first to mind, but there are a buncha others) in which the likelihood of a bird becoming ill depends in significant part on how much of the pathogen they're consuming. Eating pooey food gives you an ever-increasing spiral of how much of the pathogen is in the environment, til eventually you are likely to reach the threshold beyond which even an otherwise-healthy animal falls ill.

    What sorts of different feeders, feeder arrangements, and feed types have you tried? Unless the answer is "everything under the sun" [​IMG] I would betcha that there is a much better solution to your messy d'Uccle problem than using her poo as a plate.

    Should I have pine shavings? Must I?

    Well of course it doesn't have to be shavings, you can use straw or a number of other things. What is the REASON for wanting to omit bedding?? Is it:

    Would shredded newspaper be as good / would it be okay (small rabbitt hutch coop, so not much floor space and I think the pine shavings would be kicked out of the coop to the ground too easily thru the wire sides, whereas shredded paper wouldn't fall out so easily ????? .... just thinking out loud).

    You can certainly try it if you want, but be warned that damp and pooey shredded paper turns into an especially ucky form of paper-mache and can be awfully hard to clean out. I'd be inclined to use shredded 'regular' paper (like old office papers that were destined for reyccling, run thru a shredder) rather than shredded newspaper, as the newspaper inks will probably schmutz up white feathers (I know they do that when a white cat likes to lie on newspaper!) and newspaper will paper-mache itself together even more than regular paper.

    If your issue with shavings or other bedding is fear of it falling out of the wire sides, then a very simple solution is to a) accept that some of it will fall out the sides, big fat hairy deal [​IMG] and at the same time b) cover (or line) the bottom 6-10" or so of the sides with something solid or even just with plain ol' windowscreen, to retain all but the most dustlike particles.

    Honest, bedding is not just decorative -- primarily, it absorbs moisture from poo and kinda mixes over it, so the animals are not walking/lying/eating on a wet pooey surface. And to some additional extent, it also gives them a more naturally cushiony surface, and somewhere to get warmer when it's cool out, and in the case of chickens mine like scratching around in it to give them something entertaining to do.

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  3. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    As far as the messy eater, chickens tend to be. They like to scratch. I'm not sure how much clearence you have but, you can try hanging the feeder or putting it on blocks.

    As for bedding, I agree with Patandchickens, newspapers will be a big mess. I use shavings but, many use straw or hay. There is another advantage to the bedding, besides cushion and soaking. It will make cleaning easier. Poo smeared on the floor and stuck to the floor is not going to be easy to clean. bedding most definately will help.
     
  4. LeeLeesFarm

    LeeLeesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Farmer Kitty said:
    Poo smeared on the floor and stuck to the floor is not going to be easy to clean.

    So I've learned ! [​IMG]

    I like the idea of putting something around the bottom of the wiring that is already in existence to stop shavings from falling out.....guess I will start that job later today.

    The reason why I wanted to side with newspaper / paper really of any sort, was because I tried hay a couple times, and the hay bits that get kicked out of the hutch are so hard to pick up out of grass.

    This is my backyard chicken in a residential area, and that darn hay just sticks in the grass and won't come out. I've even tried racking. So I thought paper would be easier to collect from the grass when falling out of the hutch/coop.

    As for putting the feeder up higher, the problem with Miss D'uccle is not so much her scratching the food out, but throwing it out with her beak !!!! She just likes to throw that food all over the place !!! :eek: I suppose I could try a higher level and see if that deters her .....


    THANKS very much for the input.
    I'll get this coop "down" to where everyone is happy soon .... it's my goal ! [​IMG]

    Lee

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  5. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Have you tried putting a pan under their coop/run? You could either have it built right under to slide out and empty or just set one on the ground. I know people with rabbits that have done this with great results.
     
  6. spudchild

    spudchild Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is what I use for my coop:

    http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2751752

    I have the large hutch, plus the run (two of them actually). The box side has a wooden floor, and this is where I put their food and water. The other side is a wire mesh floor that I cover with Straw. It has a tray underneath it that catches the droppings. I drilled holes in it, so any moisture that gets in it runs through and out (learned that I needed to do this the hard way..it was disgusting...). I clean the coops every 3-4 weeks, and it is simple to just pull the messy parts out, hose them off, and then put them back in. Twice a year I disinfect the whole thing with Seventh Generation all purpose-hard surface cleaner.

    Anyway, I've found that having the food and water in the seperate "room" in the coop keeps it clean. They don't eat, sleep, and poop all in the same place. The wire mesh floor with the tray keeps droppings away from the chicks, and the run gives them a nice yard when they aren't free-ranging.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    3 suggestions on your feeder:

    If you put the feeder in a corner (since I gather this is just 1, or at most a few, chickens in the hutch?), raised up so that the part she feeds from is at the height of her back when she is standing, that will help reduce waste.

    Also, if you are not already using some kind of feeder that has an anti-billing-out design, do, it will help. Something with a recurved rim, and/or limited-size holes, and/or bars etc across it, to discourage the horizontal tossing motion. If it is only 1 chicken you might even try the kind of feeder that is designed for baby chicks, with the holes in it.

    Finally, someone here, sorry but I don't remeber who, had a nice little setup with a 'catch pan' underneath the feeder to intercept the food that was billed out. All you would really have to do is take a round pan (plastic dish, or cake pan, or something) that is about 1" deep and about 2-4" larger in diameter than your existing feeder, and sit your existing feeder in the center of it. (It would be best to arrange some way of connecting them or of putting in 'stops' so that it stays centered). When Little Miss Clever Hen bills feed out of the feeder, it will just fall into the outer 'trough' that this creates, and still be able for her to eat it.

    I've used something sorta like that myself and it really does seem to help considerably.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  8. LeeLeesFarm

    LeeLeesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SpudChild said:
    ... a wire mesh floor that I cover with Straw. It has a tray underneath it that catches the droppings. I drilled holes in it, so any moisture that gets in it runs through and out (learned that I needed to do this the hard way..it was disgusting...). I clean the coops every 3-4 weeks, and it is simple to just pull the messy parts out, hose them off, and then put them back in.

    .
    WHAT !!! You clean only every THREE TO FOUR WEEKS ????? !!!!! WOW !!!!! [​IMG]

    I'm cleaning EVERY SINGLE DAY !!!!!!! [​IMG] I need to switch !!!

    Guess I will have to look into making a pan to slip under the bottom of my present Hutch. There is a wire floor now, but I put wood down for two reasons:

    1) didn't want raccoons, possums, or rats grabbing my girls feet
    and
    2) didn't think that walking on wire all the time was good for them (maybe I'm wrong?)


    Anyway....
    shavings or paper shredded over the wire should be cushion-y enough for their little feet, and then debris can just drop into a pan .... now to get a pan in place ......


    I've JUST put the feed and water up on a block today, while the girls ran about in their little 'tractor' that my hubby just made for me. I'll see this evening what kind of a mess Miss D'uccle can get into !!!!!! [​IMG] I may not have it high enough ... I'll know after she gets in the hutch.

    It is my goal to spot a used Hutch in our local craigslist or pennysaver so that I can combine two. Then I'll have more room for the girls to run around in, eat on one side, roost on another side, etc.


    Thanks again for everyones help !!!
    It is appreciated!

    Lee


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  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Lee, you can clean infrequently if you use BEDDING, too. (No offense meant to the previous poster, but I can't see keeping my chickens on wire, although I know it generally doesn't kill 'em [​IMG]) A droppings board that you scrape off every day (elapsed time: 10 seconds) helps too. As does sufficient room -- how many square feet does your chicken have?

    Last summer I had 3 chickens in a tractor with a 4 x 2.5' 'indoors' portion, bedded lightly with shavings (woulda bedded deeper except for design flaw resulting in shavings blowing all around on windy days). I scraped the board under the roost every day or two, and did a total cleanout every week or 10 days I guess.

    I now have 2 chickens in a 6x11 coop (yeah, okay, it's real big for them [​IMG]). I clean the droppings board every morning, and re-level the shavings occasionally, and added a bit more back in February, but other than that I have not cleaned it all out since they went in there 6 months ago and I can see where I would not be *close* to having to clean it out for at LEAST another 6 months to a year. Admittedly that's with just 2 chickens there, but, do the math [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  10. LeeLeesFarm

    LeeLeesFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Pat !!

    I think I may be understanding all this ... whew [​IMG]

    I'm going to upload some photos in a bit and show you what I have.

    I think I really need to get a pan under the hutch so that the droppings can fall thru the wire that is currently there... it sounds like that should make my life easier.


    I'll put shredded paper over the wire, or get my fanny moving and enclose about 2" - 3 " height of the hardwire currently on the sides and then I can put wood shavings on the wire flooring . Hope the high winds of the California Desert don't make too big a mess of wood shavings .... are shavings generally a large size.


    Anyway .... hay was pretty bad in the winds, and my d'uccle also shoved all the hay out of her nesting box in the 'tractor' we've made .... so straw was all over my grass and very hard to even rake up .... it is still in the grass after one weeks time ! [​IMG]

    Oh that d'uccle .... I've threatened to sell her a couple times, but she is my hubby's and he threatens to sell me, if I sell her !!!! [​IMG]


    Okay ..... on to uploading a couple photos. I'd love to get this down, and not have to clean every single day !!!! [​IMG]

    Lee

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