How to Prepare Ground for Your New Chicken Coop
Preparation of the ground for delivery of your chicken coop is important, but it may be simple. The only real requirements are:
- That the ground is flat.
- The the area is free of debris.
- That water will drain away from the area and not pool around legs and runners or inside the run area.
All Lancaster Chicken Coops have treated legs and runners so placing your coop directly on a grass or dirt ground is perfectly fine and commonly done by the Amish who have designed, build and use these coops too.
Other options for preparing the ground under your coop include a concrete pad, gravel and sand base, and sand base.
Preparing a Concrete Pad Under Your Chicken Coop and Run
Just as you would for a shed, you can have a concrete pad poured for your chicken coop. This will make it impossible for a predator to dig their way in under your coop. You will need to ensure that the outside edges of the run are secured to the concrete pad and/or put wire under your run to keep predators from squeezing in through the smaller spaces.
Concrete pads should usually be about one foot bigger on each edge of your coop than the size of the base of coop. For example, for our Quaker 6x12 Combination coop, the pad dimensions are 8’x14′. All nesting boxes overhang the base dimensions by about 14″ so you may want your concrete pad to be 9′ x 14′ for a little more space. You may want to add three to four inches of pea gravel, sand, straw, grass clippings, pine shavings or hardwood chips or other natural substances to bottom of the run for chickens to scratch at once you have your coop in place.
To prevent predators from gaining access in the space where the coop runners meet the concrete you may want to use brick around the edges, add wire under your run, or use any other materials that suit to ensure that your chickens will not be vulnerable to prey.
Preparing a Gravel Base Under Your Chicken Coop and Run
One of the most favored ways for chicken owners to prepare the ground under the chicken run is with gravel and sand. Use about an inch or two of pea gravel and top with an inch or two of sand. Refill sand as it settles into the gravel.
Use course construction sand, not beach or play sand. This is better for your chickens though it may seem too rough for you to walk on in bare feet. You can purchase this sand at a quarry or gravel yard. You can add sand directly to the dirt or grass floor of your run or you can add a pond liner before adding the sand.
Use a trowel or rake to remove droppings and replace gravel and sand annually.
Preparing a Sand Base on the Ground Under Your Chicken Coop and Run
You can add gravel and sand directly to the dirt or grass floor of your run or you can add a pond liner before adding the sand. Use course construction sand, not beach or play sand. This is better for your chickens though it may seem too rough for you to walk on in bare feet. You can purchase this sand at a quarry or gravel yard. You can add sand directly to the dirt or grass floor of your run or you can add a pond liner before adding the sand.
Use a trowel or rake to remove droppings and replace sand annually.
Important Things to Remember about Your Chickens
Chickens love scratching in dirt and eating bugs, so whatever habitat your are creating for them, they will be happiest if you can give them a few of their favorite things! They will thrive and be happy in so many reasonable conditions, but when you know what they really like, you can aim for that. One thing you can do if you have a run base that is not dirt, is to provide them with a dust bath. Dust baths help to keep chickens mite and louse free and they absolutely think its the best! A combination of red lake earth, peat moss and ashes is super dusty and works well. Put it into a big tub in the run during the day and your chickens will have fun.
Deterring foxes, owls, hawks, raccoons, snakes, rodents and seemingly every darn animal from getting to your chickens can be a bit overwhelming. Our coops keep your chickens as safe as possible at night when they are locked inside but keeping your run safe needs to be a priority. Here are some methods for keeping predators out of your chicken run.
To deter animals from digging a way into your run by burrowing, dig a 6” deep trench around the outer perimeter of your chicken run. Bury half inch by half inch galvanized, plastic coated wire in the ground around the run and attach it to the runners. This will deter most predators. A pick ax, trenching machine can be used for trenching along with a shovel and pitch fork (good for loosening soil).
Some can totally deter predators simply by placing railroad ties around the perimeter of their chicken runs.
Wire on the Ground
Some can keep predators out of their runs using twelve to eighteen inches of welded wire placed on the ground around the perimeter of their chicken runs. The wire should be secured to the base of the run to keep it in place and to keep it snug against the run.