Keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard is a fun way to get involved in your food and teach your kids about the cycle of life. Whether you plan to collect eggs every morning for breakfast or just want some feathered pets, you need a sturdy and secure coop to keep your chickens safe from predators. Installing a concrete slab before building the coop offers numerous benefits, but also comes with a few drawbacks.
Pro: Prevents Digging
The scratching done by your chickens can leave depressions in the ground, but most digging around a coop is done by a predator. Many hungry animals will try to burrow in to make a meal of your hens, including:
Three or four inches of solid concrete stops even the toughest predators, but only when the rest of coop is free from gaps and unsecured doors.
Con: Freezes Feet
Despite being protective against predators, concrete gets very cold in the winter. If you live in an area with months of below freezing temperatures, your chickens could suffer from frostbite when standing with their bare feet on the floor. A thick layer of straw, wood chips, or other bedding is all you need to prevent this problem. Of course, most chicken owners already line their coop's floor with bedding to trap waste for removal.
Pro: Makes Clean Up Easier
Unless you're following the deep bedding method, you'll likely remove soiled bedding and add fresh materials about once a week to keep your coop clean and free from dangerously high ammonia levels. It's easier to sweep and shovel out all that mess when you've got a smooth, solid, and level concrete floor underneath it all. A slab prevents the waste from mixing with the dirt below and creating a smell problem that is hard to solve.
You can also take a hose into the coop to rinse off a concrete floor, a task which is downright impossible with bare soil. This is important when an infestation of poultry mites hits. The best treatments require you to spray down the interior thoroughly and rinse out the pesticides, which is a breeze unless you have a dirt floor that turns into a mud puddle.
Con: Costs More
Of course, hiring contractors to set up molds and pour a slab is going to cost more than simply building your coop over a bare patch of ground. You'll need to add the quote from the professionals to your budget before shopping for building supplies. However, if you plan to make chickens a permanent addition to your family, you'll likely find the extra cost well worth the reduction in cleaning work later.
Pro: Supports the Coop
Every good building starts with a strong foundation, including the humble chicken coop. A flat and level slab protects the wood frame of the coop from rotting due to the moisture in the soil. Unless you only want a temporary coop for one flock of birds, you should at least add small concrete footers underneath the four corner supports to help your structure last for a few years with minimal repairs.
As long as you're willing to use plenty of bedding and spend a little more on building costs, you and your chickens will benefit greatly from a concrete slab floor for the coop. Even inner city backyards host plenty of predators and threats, so it's always worthwhile to go a little overboard on the security features of a chicken house. For more information, contact a concrete contractor or visit their website, such as http://www.claggett.net.
The best way to handle major home renovations is to take them one step at a time. Instead of trying to change your whole home at once, start small. I started with the guest bathroom, then the guest bedroom, then moved on to my kids’ rooms, my bedroom, and the living room. Now I’m working on remodeling the kitchen. I started this blog to help other people who are attempting major home renovations. I’ll show you how to change your whole home by breaking it up into manageable chunks. Wondering which kitchen counters are right for you, or how to add more space to your bedroom? We’ll go over the pros and cons of different materials and discuss DIY renovation projects. Before you know it, you’ll have created your dream home.