Best flooring for coop

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by countrygrrrl, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Someone is giving me a bunch of chickens (about six-seven) in a few weeks -- ! and people wonder why I say I have such nice friends :D they just decided to give me some chickens because they have too many :D -- so I need to jimmy up coops pretty fast.

    They're free ranging right now, and I plan to continue letting them free range when I'm home to keep an eye on them. I have a shed I'm going to clear out and I have a pretty good idea of how to build their little individual chicken houses :D --- but the floor in that shed is dirt.

    Should I leave the floor dirt? Or should I plan to cover it with something, esp. with winter coming on?

    Be mindful, we have snakes here, a lot of them, so my thinking in terms of flooring is not just about the chickens' comfort, but snake deterence!
     
  2. Kathryn L.Holck

    Kathryn L.Holck Active Member

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    Hello from Iowa, CG: We dismantled a coop and it had fir tongue and groove. Dirt will allow predators to inhabit the coop but a raised coop will allow creatures to inhabit under the floor. What I have seen/heard, is an old flair box wagon used for a coop. It had a sloped roof attached with vents and they could wheel the wagon to the range anywhere. They also had steps going to the back and a screen door for air flow. Also, I think they had cut the sides and had a door to the nests so they did not have to enter the wagon to check for eggs. I believe they had a barrel attached for water and a secure place for feed storage.


     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    You won't believe this; I've recently read of folks putting linolium/sheet vinyl in their coops! I'd just leave the floor dirt and pile on deep litter. Sawdust, wood chips, straw, whatever you have. If you are really worried about anything digging in you can put down concrete pavers and put litter on that. Clearing the ground around the coop of all vegetation and putting down a thick layer of gravel will cut way down on mice and rats and discourage snakes.
     
  4. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Good!

    Actually, I'm now considering turning my composting/potting shed (attached to raised bed/grape arbor/patio area :D ) into the coop.

    My reasoning is this: I'll be putting plastic OVER the raised bed area, come fall, so I can move my more delicate plants in for the winter.

    This will help keep it warm for the chicks during freezes. But this is also a shady area, so it doesn't get overwhelmingly hot in the summer. And it's beneath a huge oak.

    I had runaway chickens here last year :haha: and they loved that little area --- spent most of their time here either on top of the shed or in the oak. So ... !

    In addition, although I have seen one ribbon snake in that general area, the composting/potting shed attached to raised bed/etc etc is primarily inhabited by skinks, toads, frogs and peepers. So, it feels fairly safe to me, esp. if, as you suggest, I put down gravel and pavers.
     
  5. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Make sure to fence it strong enough to keep your bear out. :)
     
  6. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like a dirt floor. If you put down bedding, you won't see where the snakes are. If you're zones 7&8, you should be far enough south not to worry about the cold.
    mary
     
  7. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    :haha: Daybird, the *shed* I'm putting the coops in is actually a strange steel building put up by the previous owners of this place (and for what reason, you ask - ? You got me there). After meditating on it for a year or so --- and realizing the strange steel shed may be really ugly, but it would take a REALLY BIG bulldozer to knock it over (and even that's questionable), I turned it into a shed.

    So, the chickens would be pretty safe in it.

    Mary, the no bedding on floor makes sense to me. We have fairly mild winters here, except every once in a while, we'll get a whooper of a winter. And we DO always get freezes. Still, I have some delicate plants which are too large to come inside, but absolutely can't freeze. So I'm going to have to plastic that area in any way.

    The chickens will look simply lovely amongst these plants, however. :D
     
  8. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I hope those plants won't look like dinner to your chickens come winter ;)
    Your chickens won't be hurt by a light freeze if they are in the shed at night.
    I'd keep 'em cooped up for a few days til they get used to their new location, then let them out for a short while late afternoon at first. That's so they don't have time to wander too far, and will return to the coop at dusk. Also, once they get used to laying in the shed, they will learn to return there to lay. Since most of them will lay in the morning hours, that gets them laying in the coop.
    After you've had them for several weeks, you can turn them out first thing in the morning.
    mary
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    He! The hummingbirds love the plants I'll be moving into the shed area (what they are, I don't know --- they're gorgeous, but require shade and no freezes! :yeeha: ).

    The others will go into the greenhouse up front or into the house for winter. Except the sage, which I have coming out of my ears. :rolleyes:

    I'm really excited about this. I loved my runaway chickens --- they were here for a couple of months before the owners claimed them :waa: --- they were so sweet and entertaining, made sure I was up early every morning by their gentle desperate *we're starving, feed us!* clucking at the front door. :D

    So I'll be glad to have some guys back again. :D
     
  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    If you are planning on putting plants in the same building with chickens I think you will be happier with them if you pen the chickens in one part. You can make a chicken wire partition for them. They will knock anything off or over that they can reach and eat anything you don't want them to eat. And they will perch on and poop on any tools or materials they have access to. (Wanna know how I know this? Or have you guessed?)
     
  11. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    :D :D
     
  12. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I put pine chips on dirt. Mostly for my own benefit as I use the chips for mulch/fert.
     
  13. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I did that once, but the first time I saw a snake slither under the bedding, I decided I could live with a dirt floor in the coop.
     
  14. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What kind of snakes do you have? Do they eat something as large as a chicken. If they eat eggs, do they eat eggs as large as a chicken lays? We have snakes, but they don't bother the chickens or the eggs.

    When they are cold, the chickens will huddle together and keep warm. We had a terribly cold winter this past year and the chickens did just fine in their little wooden coop. They need much less room then you think. I agree that you don't want them perching on your garden stuff. Force them into their own room every night for a week, locking them in, and they will know to go there every night from then on, and as long as you have a nest box (you only need one) they will lay in there.
     
  15. eb

    eb Well-Known Member

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    I vote for dirt too...seems to stay drier as liquids can settle into the ground so you don't need to clean it out as much...as far as the cold, they will be fine. I have about 30 chickens out in a non-insulated coop, with a dirt floor and more than a few small drafts for several winters now, and have had weeks of weather with high winds and 15-20 BELOW zero without any problem. Haven't lost a chicken yet to the cold.
     
  16. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know what kind of snakes Countrygrrl has, but down here, we definitely have Texas-sized snakes. Mostly king snakes, rat snakes, and such. The last one we killed had just eaten seven chicks for one meal! And yes, I have had them kill half grown chickens. Although they couldn't swallow them, they surely tried, and killed the birds in the process. And, yes, I saw them do it, and know that's what happened.
     
  17. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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  18. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Mary, we have black snakes, king snakes, rattlesnakes, just about every kind of snake. It's snake-y here anywway (Oklahoma) but I live close to a river and water, so it's REALLY snakey! :eek:

    Last year, I killed a snake I caught eating the baby cardinals I'd been watching over for a month. :mad: I usually don't kill snakes, but I don't like nothing messing with the birds! :yeeha:

    Right now, that area is snake free --- there are lots of skinks and frogs and whatnot --- in fact, there's obese skinks over there :eek: --- I just caught sight of one and jiminy, that's the fattest skink I ever seen! :eek: And i suspect the skinks and frogs and toads and whatnot would be in great danger from the chickens than vice versa.

    That said, the plan right now is to lay gravel all along the bottom of the walls (both inside and out), then put pavers outside the gravel, then leave the floor dirt and keep the coops elevated.

    Also get the chickens roosting high up ASAP. :yeeha: That way, if danger comes around, they'll know how to --- and be able to --- get on up there and away from danger fast. :yeeha: