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#65177 - 12/13/07 07:01 AM Best Floor Covering??
Mamacat Patch Offline
New Egg

Registered: 07/12/07
Posts: 9
Loc: Indiana
We built our free ranging roosters a shed/coop for the winter with their food inside and some roosts but they never use it! They roosted on our porch till we finally got them off that. Now they are in our big maple tree at night. I mean rain, storm, lightening, snow, ice, wind, cold ... they're in that tree instead of the shed/coop.

Yesterday I found out some animal[s] has been using the shed/coop as a liter box! So I cleaned it out, soaked wood shavings and all, but can't decide if I should leave it bare or put hay in or something. They have a little "chicken door" entrance/exit so our cats and other roaming critters can easily get into the shed/coop, unfortunately! I would like to put something down at least under the roost area just in case they do actually decide to use it, so the wood doesn't rot out.

Paint? Vinyl? Wire? I'm out of ideas!!!

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#65178 - 12/13/07 12:34 PM Re: Best Floor Covering??
Eric19 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 197
Loc: Michigan
Well MamacatPatch, the wood does rot, but fortunately it didn't yet for me. I have a coop myself that's made out of all wood. Everything in and out of it is wood. I used water prof ply-wood everywhere too. I have had it for about 3-4 yrs. now, and nothing has rotted away. The wood on the outside did fade to a light gray. The only place that has been rotting, is the place where I hang my waterer. Like for instance, I'm planning on having straw throughout the year (just started this winter), and when I cleaning the waterer area some wood comes off. Next time I wont scrape as hard.

I once had a smaller cage/coop for my chickens. And I trained them to go into this box I had out for them, every night. And this was before I new of all those creatures hunting for chickens! But somehow I never lost one chicken with that box and cage. Since the first day I built the bigger coop, creatures have been eating them. So basically try to get them one by one (if possible) and train them to go into there new home. Or get them all and put them into the coop overnight so they get the idea. I had to do the same. But, long story short, if you don't have a pen w/ a fence up top and a nice warm coop, you better get some.

I hope I helped,

Eric

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#65179 - 12/14/07 02:13 PM Re: Best Floor Covering??
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
The new Coops we are building for my breeding pens are wood with wire bottoms & sides (with wooden wind shields that can be removed in summer on the sides and 2x4 as roosts. In lieu of paint, we have painted linseed oil on all the wood surfaces as a preservative. I am using cedar shavings.

My chickens wanted to roost everywhere too when I changed their living arrangements (and I still have my Bantam hen roosting in the Ligustrom bush with her grown standard size pullet-- I leave them alone.). For every other bird not caged separately and for this past very hot, humid summer, we built them what is an "open roost", I call it an "artificial tree with a roof" that is situated in the run. They immediately took to it. They can choose to roost at about 1, 3 or 5 feet off the ground (2x4 as roosts). Only the New Rooster stays on the low rung and the remaining 14 hens & pullets roost at either 3 or 5 feet up. I don't have to worry about cold weather as my breeds are all very cold hardy. Also, it does not get real cold here in Alabama, although this weekend the nights are going into the 20s (but it's been in the 70s during the day and 40-50s at night) & the said Roost is shielded from the north by my house. [Because of weather & a higher prevalence of various predators, my open tree roost would not work for 99% people unless their run was very secure.]

We have built a "two story," separate laying hutch that has four upper level & four lower level nest boxes. I am using DE, sevin & cedar shavings in the 8 nest boxes.

I thought I did not have to worry so much about predators since I live in a city (except for the occasional loose dog; hawks seem not to bother chickens here in the city for whatever reason- they are prevalent and here. However, with my recent opossum attack, my predator-myth bubble has been burst. I have seen another opossum lurking around but decided not to shoot it since it is not bothering my chickens (I set a trap but the bait got eaten without dropping the trap door). I believe the opossum that attacked my grown std-size hen a couple of weeks ago was more an aberration. Opossums are more prone to eat eggs (which I don't leave out overnight ever), or kill juvenile chickens (which I don't let roost at night until thay are older) [OR if I had Bantams, I only have one Bantam, and she is rather self-reliant]. NOTE: we have minks in Alabama but they do not live in the city. Raccoons are nearby but avoid all the neighborhood dogs.

When I was a kid, some of my chickens free ranged and the bantams would roost high in the trees. They would disappear over the years though to various predators. CHRIS

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#65180 - 12/14/07 09:54 PM Re: Best Floor Covering??
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: Canada
I also have a wood floor, cedar decking. Over time the area under the roost does get saturated and gets a permanent ammonia smell. Someone on the coop advised that I hang the heat lamp low over wet area, after I had shovelled out all the dirty shavings, and let the floor dry out. It dried out quite quickly, I kept a close watch for fire.

Now before I toss in fresh shavings I sprinkle a product called StallDry. It is supposed to absorb moisture and I think it does help reduce ammonia odour, for a while.

If you keep your wood floor shovelled, and if you have a heat lamp handy to dry it out now and then, it might last longer than you'd think. One note, for us it was a catastrophe keeping the water in the hen house. WAY too much humidity! I could NOT keep the place dry with all the splashing those hens did. Now the water stays outside. Yes it freezes solid. We carry a fresh warm bucket out each morning and bring in the frozen bucket to thaw. It's a pain. But it keeps excess moisture OUT of the hen house.

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#65181 - 12/19/07 05:26 PM Re: Best Floor Covering??
Lifelong Learner Offline
Chicken

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 126
Loc: Louisiana
My vote goes to vinyl flooring. The self-sticking squares are super-cheap and easy to install. They are also easy to cut with a box knife to fit specially-shaped spaces. I have a tiny roosting box in my coop and it's floored with vinyl squares. Makes Saturday morning clean-up a breeze.

--Angelle

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#65182 - 12/19/07 11:32 PM Re: Best Floor Covering??
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Hello MamacatPatch,

what kind of wood do you have there? Different kinds of wood last differently long. There are woods that last for 40+ years in wind and weather without(!) any treatment, and there are woods that rot in 3 years. If you have "the right wood" you donīt need to worry about rotting.

Quote:
The self-sticking squares are super-cheap and easy to install.
Yep, we tried those too, but be aware: at the rim/edge where the tiles connect thereīs danger of moisture and parasites creeping in. Maybe you can seal the gaps to prevent this? We have those tiles now since 2005 and the rims/edges already wear out, meaning the "gaps" between the tiles are getting bigger and the edges flip up on certain tiles. This is from determined cleaning, when you use too much force on the edges while cleaning they tend to get loose. And once the tiles are "hurt" they peel away rather quickly and finally come off. I agree, the vinyl squares were easy to clean for the first summer, unfortunatly in the first winter the moisture in the gaps froze and made them peel away even faster;-(

We noticed vinyl/PCV/rubber/whatever floor covering "in whole" works better, we have a 4x5 meter piece of this in the ducks coop and it works great: no edges, no rims, no bumps, all is flat and easy cleaning because itīs in one piece. I think the roll was cheap also, they come in various widths (e.g. 3, 4 or 5 m).

Best greetings,

Joachim

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#65183 - 12/20/07 06:18 AM Re: Best Floor Covering??
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
I'm with Uno, I LOVE keeping the water outside of the coop. During the day the pressure put on the water just from drinking keeps it from freezing in all but the coldest weather. It is the rare, bitterly cold or blizzard like day when I will set their water just inside the coop, right at the edge of the doorway.

I don't think it is asking too much of them or causing discomfort for a chicken, duck or goose to step just outside the coop, under the awning to get a drink of water and then step back in to a cozy coop. It keeps the shavings out of the water, and the water out of the shavings. I fill the tubs with warm water in the early morning and again later in the afternoon. I never bring a bucket in to thaw like Uno does, though. If I find a skim or layer of ice, I stick a metal bar or my booted foot through the ice to break it up, strain the ice out with my hands, and add fresh warm water. If it's frozen solid, I just turn the tub upside down and step on it. Flip over and refill. We use those flexible black rubber tubs. Going on four years with the same tubs and not a crack yet. Now that we dump the water out each night after the birds have put themselves to bed, no more frozen solid tubs.

If things ever seem damp or if I smell the slightest bit of ammonia in the coop we just add more litter. We only do a thorough cleaning of the coop 2-4 times a year. I love using the deep litter, and we keep our compost pile a short wheel barrow's stroll from the coop so when we do clean it all out it's not a big deal. Also, the door to the coop is only closed at night so this helps very much as there is adequate ventilation without drafts.

We used to have linoleum on the floor of the coop but ripped it up because it was so old and cracking everywhere - but if applied new I think it's a good idea and would last a long time. I really like the idea of a wire bottom with shavings as well.

As for the birds roosting everywhere but the coop, you'll have to train them to roost in the coop or you will loose them to owls, eventually. Just pick them up and put them on their roosts at dusk or just after dark. It helps to trim the flight feathers of one wing, sets them off-balance, so you won't have to try to get a roosting chicken down out of a tree. If they can't fly up in the trees, they may well roost in the coop themselves. If your chickens are 100% free, you may want to consider erecting a fence around their coop/shed, if only for a short period of time, so that the only roosts available to them are the ones in the coop. Once they have no other appealing alternatives and have been happily roosting in the coop for a period of time, you could always take the fence down. Either way, once they are "trained" or accustomed to roosting in the coop, I find I don't have to trim the feathers again after the next molt.

All our birds - chickens, ducks and geese - put themselves in at night, all we have to do is close them up. This is so nice!

Good luck working it out!

Amy

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#65184 - 12/26/07 10:10 AM Re: Best Floor Covering??
Fowled Out Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Arkansas
Has anyone thought of using drop boards under their roost? All my pens have drop boards that I scrap off every day with an inexpensive car ice scraper and a dustpan. I imagine any smooth material can be used for the drop board or just plain or painted wood.

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#65185 - 12/27/07 02:57 PM Re: Best Floor Covering??
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8444
Loc: Montana
All night roosts should have droppings boards underneath. I use roosts over metal trays in some pens, tray is just removed and dumped occasionally. Others with just 3 or 4 birds have wooden boxes(grape boxes with wooden ends from the grocery store) set on the droppings board, with roost boards nailed over. Those boxes are lined with plastic and a few pine shavings and just dump occasionally, clean and ready to put back up on the shelf. High shelf and roosts--warmest part of the houses and the birds are very comfortable--and it is easy to keep them clean and NOT SMELLY at all! Good luck, CJR

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