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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be putting my kitset coop together soon. It's one of those moveable ones so I can place it in different spots in the back yard (we live in an urban area). As far as I can tell, the run part has no actual "floor" so the chooks will be able to forage from the lawn. But on the inside, in the actual "henhouse" I want to know what I should use on the floor. Internet research has shown pine shavings to be popular. How thick do I need to spread it and how often will I need to remove the poopy shavings and replace with fresh ones? And can I use hay or lucerne chaff in the nesting boxes? (Apparently lucerne chaff is low in dust?)

Any advice is very welcome. I'm a newbie and want to get it right from the start. :)
 

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I think it is a personal choice...

You have some folks that say never use this or that but... I use straw or pine shaving for the floor and cedar :)eek:) in the nest box and I have done so for over 30 years.

Straw I get for free and the pine a little of nothing. I spot clean when needed and twice a year (spring & fall)... do a good cleaning.

Best of luck ...
 

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How big is the house itself? And what is the floor made of? Wood? You'll have to take that into account because you won't want it to be wet and potentially moldy.

My personal favorite for a large chicken house is a method called the deep litter method. Here's a link: http://smallfarm.about.com/od/farmanimals/a/deeplitter.htm In the summer my birds are on pasture and their hoop coop is moved around to fresh grass, but in the winter I use the deep litter method. I know the farmer who owns Butterworks Farms (yogurt, cream available in New England grocery stores) and that's what he does for his cows in the winter. He uses the straw from his grain crops (wheat, rye, oats) and layers it up all winter until it gets to be 10 or so feet deep. In the spring, it's compost and he uses it on his crops. Pure genius!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
CountryMama, yes the floor is wood (treated fir). Looking at the picture of the coop (I bought it online) the house part is roughly 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet. That's why I was wondering how often I would have to clean out the house. I like the deep litter method and would use it if I had a homestead or farm, but I don't want to ruin the lawn (my hubby would have kittens if the lawn got covered up with a compost layer, even in one spot). The grass continues to grow in winter, although not very quickly because it is cold and rains a lot. We do tend to have some good frosts but we don't get snow. The temp would generally not fall below -7C overnight (low to mid 20s Fahrenheit I'm guessing).
 

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Yeah, that's pretty small for deep litter. I'm thinking kiln-dried shavings for your floor bedding, but I don't have any experience with a wood floor. Our other chicken house had a hardware cloth floor and was 2 feet off the ground so there was circulation through the bedding (I used straw). Maybe someone else has experience with this and could help?

Oh, also, don't take great pains to insulate and heat and close their house up tight during the winter. Don't weatherize it at all, in fact. And use a regular light bulb to extend their day. It will add enough heat. Their own body heat will warm the house up, too. At night, the sleep on their feet to keep them warm. As long as there are no drafts, they'll be fine. Just check for frozen water. I live in Vermont where the winters are very cold and we have snow on the ground most of the winter. I let my chickens out during the day and throw straw down so they'll come out of the house (they don't like it when they sink down into the snow up to their armpits and can't move!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Haha, I'm just picturing chickens floundering in snow - perhaps you could get them teeny tiny snowshoes!

The floor of the house part is a couple of feet off the ground so there should be plenty of air circulating, I think.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, hubby and I got the coop assembled yesterday afternoon. Just got to buy some feed and other supplies now, all ready for adding chickens next weekend!



The floor measures 0.7 metres by 2.1 metres. I just want to check that it is big enough for 4 ex batts who will (once they're settled in and adjusted) be allowed to free range for a few hours a day.
There are two nesting boxes in the bit hanging off the end and two perches inside the sleeping area, each of which are 70 cm long, so I'm figuring that is enough for 4 birds once they learn how to perch!
 

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Yes. That it was I bought it for. 4 hens. I also got the extended add on run. I've been waiting for my son so we can put it together. But seeing yours makes me very encouraged about my own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you so much. I was worried I might only be able to get 3. But they will eventually be let out every day for a forage. And they'll certainly have more space than before!!! Please post a picture of yours once it's set up. :)
 
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