Posts tagged with ‘Cleaning’

 

Make It Your Own: Richard and Ellen’s “Secret Layer,” Vista, California

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

This spacious California chicken coop was built using The Garden Coop walk-in coop plans.

Richard and Ellen shared several pictures of their Garden Coop build along with notes about how they customized it for their California backyard. The rest of the post comes from them. . . (more…)

New nipple waterer for chickens

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Several months ago on the advice of a customer, I decided to make a DIY nipple waterer for our backyard chickens. Our birds were just chicks at the time, and keeping them supplied with fresh, clean water with their jar-and-saucer waterer was a frequent chore.

So I fashioned a simple waterer from a used plastic jug and a poultry nipple I bought online. The chicks took right to it, and the difference was remarkable.

No more spilled water. No more poopy water. No more worrying that their water had run dry.

When the flock graduated to the coop, their makeshift waterer went with them, and I started working on a more permanent solution for their larger space.

Here’s the nipple waterer I came up with — which I now also make to sell — and some videos showing you what you get and how it works. (more…)

Make It Your Own: Andreas Känner’s Garden Coop (Landesbergen, Germany)

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Several weeks ago, Andreas Känner surprised me with photos and details on his Garden Coop build in Landesbergen, Germany. As far as I know, this is the first Hühnerhaus built in Germany using our metric chicken coop plans. Andreas did an amazing job, and I’m happy to share his photos and commentary here. . . (more…)

Winter Chicken Coop Care, Part 1: Clean your coop.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Cold weather tips for backyard chickens and coopsWhether it’s your first winter keeping chickens or your fiftieth, it’s helpful to have a checklist for preparing your backyard coop for the change of seasons. Of course, what’s on your list will depend on a lot of things including your particular climate, coop design, chicken breeds, routines, and more.

In this four-part series, I’ll share what has worked for us to get our backyard chickens and coops ready for the cold. I’ll also include several ideas offered by The Garden Coop Facebook community and others on how to keep your flock healthy all winter long. So here we go. . . (more…)

To paint or not to paint? That is, the henhouse floor.

Monday, August 9th, 2010

A glimpse of the painted hen house floor of The Garden Ark chicken coop, B.C. (before chickens).

You know you need to protect your chicken coop from the elements outside. Wind and sun, rain and snow take their toll on your poultry pen over time, and a good wood sealer or exterior paint on the outside of the hen house goes a long way toward preventing this damage.

But what about protection from the “elements” inside the henhouse? Face it, a lot more comes out of a hen’s vent than just fresh eggs. And depending on the design of your henhouse — whether you have a special poop tray, a slotted floor, or a bare floor covered in bedding — you have to consider whether you want to paint the hen house walls and floor to make cleaning up their droppings easier. Listen in and/or read on for our thoughts. . .

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Should you paint the floor of your hen house?

The Garden Coop and Garden Ark chicken coop plans call for a simple henhouse floor. That is, there’s no poop tray or slotted floor in these designs, though you could certainly add them. What you have, then, is a basic plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) floor. Both of these are bare wood products, which means that if they get wet, they will begin to absorb moisture.

+ Read more about the henhouse design in The Garden Coop and The Garden Ark chicken coop plans.

+ Read more about choosing the right kind of sheet wood for a chicken coop.

Painting the floor will protect it from moisture and everything that can come with it — rot, mold, mildew. Even just the swollen and raised fibers of the wood can make brushing out debris go less smoothly. Seal the surface well, and any soiled bedding should brush right out.

That said, painting the henhouse floor is not a must. Your choice may come down to cost. If you have the right paint handy, by all means use it. But if you’re trying to save on the cost of building a chicken coop, a quart or gallon of quality paint may cost more than the piece of wood you’re trying to protect.

Whether you decide to paint or not, what is a must is that you maintain a layer of carbonaceous bedding (straw, pine shavings, shredded paper, dried leaves, etc.) to collect the chickens’ droppings. This is important for both absorbing moisture and keeping odors down. As the chicken manure collects in the bedding, the mixture of the two is a lot easier to remove and add to the compost.

Painted vs. unpainted

We have a coop in which we painted the floor and another in which we left the hen house floor unfinished. We keep a layer of fresh bedding in both, and since the hens’ droppings fall onto this bedding, the moisture doesn’t readily soak into the plywood. (A bit of chicken trivia, not that you asked for it: A chicken’s urine comes out the vent with its feces. It’s the whitish stuff mixed in with the droppings.)

Here are a couple pictures of those hen house floors. The first is of the unfinished floor. The second is of the painted one.

This floor is OSB and has never been painted. Ive brushed away some of the bedding to reveal the surface. The dust is a mixture of diatomaceous earth, straw, and dried droppings.
The floor of the raised hen house on this Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop is made of OSB, is a couple years old, and has never been sealed or painted. I brushed away some of the straw bedding to reveal the surface. The gray dust you see is a mixture of diatomaceous earth, straw, and dried droppings.

The inside floor of this Garden Ark mobile chicken coop is painted with white exterior latex paint. Ive brushed back the bedding to show the floor. Notice it looks about the same as the unfinished henhouse floor pictured above. But I could wipe this one down to its original smooth condition. (If I wanted to.)

The hen house floor of this Garden Ark mobile chicken coop is painted with white exterior latex paint. I've brushed back the bedding to show the floor. Notice it looks about the same as the unfinished henhouse floor pictured above. But I could wipe this one down to its original pristine condition (if I ever wanted to.) The smoothness of the painted floor does make it a little easier to sweep out the soiled bedding.

Now, while the floors in both these coops are holding up quite well, we do find that the painted floor is easier to clean. It’s definitely easier to tell when it’s clean, and my guess is that the painted surface will outlast the unpainted one.

Painting the henhouse floor

To paint the floor of your chicken coop, simply apply two coats (or more) of a durable exterior latex paint. The coop should be so well ventilated that any gradual off-gassing from your paint won’t harm the chickens, but you may still prefer to use a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, especially if you’re painting the floor piece indoors. If you have a primer, applying that first will improve the adhesion and coverage of the paint.

Hens like to go barefoot and rarely trim their nails, so plan to use a paint that’s tough enough to hold up to the constant scratching. As for color, white or a pale shade is best, as it will make it more obvious when the chicken coop floor needs to be cleaned.

What about the hen house walls?

Since the interior walls don’t get soiled like the floor, we’ve left them bare on all of our family’s coops. But if you have the paint or a durable flooring material like vinyl or linoleum and the time, you might cover them anyway just to brighten things up.

Some final tips on painting the inside of your chicken coop:

  • Your choice may come down to cost. If you have the materials and the time, you might as well paint or cover the floor of the henhouse.
  • Make sure you apply any paint or floor covering to the henhouse floor before the chickens move in.
  • Also, paint the floor and walls at the right time in the construction process. If you’re using our chicken coop construction plans, we note in there when it’s a good time to paint. If you’re building without a plan, keep in mind that it may be easier to paint the floor or wall sections before you install them.
  • Let the paint dry or cure well — and then some — before inviting the girls in. They’ll tear it up without a second thought (without a first thought, actually). Refer to your product’s literature for proper drying times.
  • Our coop designs call for raised henhouses. If the floor in your coop design will be subject to both human and chicken foot traffic, consider the most durable hen house flooring option first, then work back based on what you can afford.

Let us know what has worked for you. Did you paint your henhouse floor or not? Any particular paints or sealers work well on your chicken coop floor? Leave your comment below!

Guest article at The Urban Garden Project

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I’ve got a guest article up at The Urban Garden Project offering seven tips for building a garden-friendly backyard chicken coop. Check it out, then click around The Urban Garden Project site for more tips on backyard gardening, square foot gardening, chickens, and more.

Thanks, Ben, for inviting me to post!

Make It Your Own: Mike and Dara’s Garden Coop

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Portland Chicken Coop Family Portrait

I got a nice message the other day from Mike and Dara P. of Portland who built their backyard chicken coop using The Garden Coop plans.

Their coop works beautifully in their city backyard and fits well into their neighborhood. It also makes a great backdrop for their family holiday card!

In the note they sent, they shared tips from their experience building The Garden Coop as well as some of the ways that they customized the design to work for their situation. Here are some excerpts:

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Is a poop tray worth it?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

When I was designing our first chicken coop I was fascinated by the idea of building a removeable poop tray into the final version. This is where you create a slatted floor to your henhouse and put a cleanout tray beneath it. The hens’ droppings fall through the slats and collect in a tray for removal. Another variation I’ve seen is a raised henhouse where the entire floor is removabale (or at least tippable).

As I looked into it more, I began to notice that the coops that needed built-in poop trays were the ones where the henhouse was too hard to access in the first place. The trays made cleanup not so much easier as practical at all. (more…)