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- Acquiring and caring for your Orpingtons
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this is a suggestion for housing for birds once they are old enough to not need a brooder or heat and as adults
by the Cuckoo Stud
This is ONLY my opinion
I have always insisted on cement flooring where possible when using the 'deep litter method' =
Wood floors only last for so long as wood will deteriorate in time and can harbour parasites (mites and lice) in the cracks.
The birds will scratch down to the wood and then do damage to it causing it to deteriorate faster than it would naturally.
Wood floors always seem to only last until about a month after you retire and don’t have the money to replace it because you spent all your money setting up for retirement
Mesh under deep litter and or dirt will rust and break down requiring it to be replaced 2 or 3, sometimes 4 times in your lifetime, - more frequently if you damage it when shovelling out the old litter
A cement floor under the litter makes for an easy clean out each spring and of course will always be level – dirt floors become uneven over time.
The cement doesn’t really get any colder than the earth under it and is actually 2-3 degrees warmer at the central point (working on a 4m X 4m slab of 15cm depth) and the deep litter material insulates as well (it also helps to cool in summer)
I also recommend that being deep litter the cement is formed to a height of 60cm (2ft) and the minimum width of one brick all the way around the floor to keep the litter 'in' allowing that this deep litter area will not be exposed to the rain otherwise you will have a constant job of removing the wet litter.
You need to make a drain hole in one side that can have a ‘plug’ in it – and the floor needs to have a gentle slope to this drain hole (obviously).
This is to allow fast drainage of water once you have cleaned all the litter out each spring – of course you must always wash out the pen (walls ceiling floors) once old litter is removed. A Gernie is good for this job as the high pressure forces everything out and away.
The mesh can then be attached securely to the 'surround'. This 'surround’ will also help to keep foxes from digging into the pen/shed and if the mesh is attached well to the top of the cement or even set into the cement it will stop foxes gaining access at that point = cyclone mesh is good for this as it sets well into cement and chook mesh attached to the inside edge of the cyclone mesh to keep smaller chicks/bantams in – I am assuming the pen/s made will have a secure roof
The Stud has used the cement floors for numerous years (after experimenting with other types) with good results, in conjunction with the birds free-ranging when/where possible.
We have several sheds that have pre-existing cement floors with cement side walls 60cm up.
At a previous address the shearing shed had wood slats (naturally) so we had to supply the birds in it with a dirt bath area,
due to this, and we found these birds were more ‘fidgety’ than birds in other sheds.
update after the 2009 firestorms and associated heatwave -
At the Stud all birds are slimmed down from early to mid Spring, and fed portion control until the end of Summer (end of the heat)
Also, the birds have both regular pens of treed large yards and paddocks to roam in during the day with their Maremma dogs, and Summer pens up off the ground in the yards and paddocks.
The Summer pens are under trees, have wire floors (2cm square mesh) and wire bird mesh on all sides to allow breezes through.
Each Summer pen has a soaker hose attached to the sides all the way around so that water can be sprayed as a fine mist directly onto the birds during heat waves and on random overly hot days.
Since implementing this method of cooling it has been rare that birds have been lost.
This method of heat wave and random overly hot day housing was implemented after the 2009 firestorms and associated heatwave that decimated the state.
# subject to copyright laws of Australia