With winter fast approaching, I wanted to get the big mobile coop a bit more ready for winter. The screen floor is great for warmer weather as it allows for good air circulation and ventilation, plus a lot of the chicken manure just falls right out the bottom.
A more stable floor to walk on to collect eggs when they start coming was also a consideration. Trying to balance on the cross beams while carrying a basket of eggs seemed like a recipe for a mess.
Here is a view of the coop before work started:
The first step was to install the "permanent" floor below the nesting boxes and near the door to make it easier to walk on those parts of the coop floor.
The 4' x 8' sheets had to be trimmed to fit, but they actually slid into place and screwed down pretty easily, which was nice.
I'm hoping this plywood is a bit resistant to the elements and lasts a few seasons, as these sheets certainly aren't cheap!
The next step was to lay down a bunch of carboard boxes I'd been saving over both the remaining area under the roosts and the new sub floor.
This should help absorb moisture and make springtime cleanup easier. The cardboard will be a good base to hold the next bit, a whole lot of shavings. It took about 7 bags to cover the entire floor with a nice, deep layer.
The thick layer of shavings should absorb all the manure pretty well. I'll plan to refresh the shavings as needed, but likely not remove anything until springtime (what a good compost starter/addition THAT will be!).
This should keep the coop much cleaner, warmer, and drier this winter. I may put up some windbreaks over the screened area at the top of the coop, at least on one side. The goal would be to block cold wind without limiting ventilation.
Between now and when the new hens start laying, I plan to fix up the nesting boxes to get them ready. Post springtime cleanout, I expect to replace the roosts with some that are a bit more spaced out and not as high.
It was nice to complete another project before the cold weather hits.