The chickens live upstairs (on the roosts) and they live downstairs so they can both exist reasonably well in the same raccoon-proof enclosure inside the barn. They do however need some sort of little roof to keep from getting pooed on. The biggest problem is the wet smelly floor, I'd need literally a ton or more of bedding and would have to clean out the area every week or two in order not to violate one of Paul Wheaton's rules of farming; "if it smells bad. you're doing it wrong". Before the geese (and a few ducks too, though not as bad) I only had to clean out the coop once or twice a year. The birds are only in it while it's dark out and maybe an hour after sunrise on some days.
My thanks goes out to anyone who has some wisdom they'd like to share on this subject. I've got a lot of ideas floating around in my head for better chicken housing that I'd like to try out but I've been observing them for a few years now, not so with the ducks and geese. It does seem that at least the ducks, and probably geese too, like to go into a bigger building for the night. When we got our first muscovy ducks last summer they abandoned their re-worked chicken tractor the first chance they got in favor of the barn. In case you're wondering they weren't confined in it at all times, it was just their overnight place.
S Haze wrote:The biggest problem is the wet smelly floor, I'd need literally a ton or more of bedding and would have to clean out the area every week or two in order not to violate one of Paul Wheaton's rules of farming; "if it smells bad. you're doing it wrong". Before the geese (and a few ducks too, though not as bad) I only had to clean out the coop once or twice a year.
Is there enough vertical space (ie, before the geese run out of room under their roof, or you can't get in without stooping over) to allow for a deep bed, rather than cleaning out regularly? Add some fresh litter to the top, get worms going in the litter, and let the chickens stir it to get at some of the worms... I can't swear that will work, but it seems worth a shot. May also need to allow for more (predator-proofed) ventilation to help dry it out.
Used a base of red clay packed down hard. That is covered with shavings. I prefer not to use straw as nowdays it is usually contaminated with herbicide.
I banked the shavings high up on the wall and just picked out the wet spots daily. The banked shavings were pulled into the middle as needed.
It used to take me about 30 minutes to do 10 stalls (unless I had a messy horse) so one stall for geese shouldn't be too bad.
I prefer to clean every day rather than deep litter. I have found that breathing the air one foot off of the ground continuosly for 15 minutes in a deep litter bed is not fun. I know that sounds nutty but I just wanted to see how it was going to work for my horses. It doesn't usually smell if done properly - but there is ammonia buildup very near the ground level where they keep their noses a lot of the time.
Anyway, since I am going to have to go back to coops for my birds I am probably going to use this flooring method.
We have 6 geese and have had them for 4 years now. They have a 2m x 2m house and we do deep bedding with straw (we have an organic source). Hay gets stinky but straw is good. I have a blog post about it here
I have one male Embdem goose (we got him from an urban neighbor at about 1yr old, never 'hutched'). We built him a nice hutch that he never uses. He is now 7yrs old and has kept the raccoons at bay all by himself since we got him. However, when we hear him reacting to the raccoons, we often hear the hissing and the flap of wings, we'll go out and clap our hands or spray water at the raccoons. I'm hoping for chickens this fall and we'll see in the spring if he tries to kill them, hump them, or protect them. I'm guessing we'll have to keep him away from the chx during his spring romance time, but we hope he'll be protective otherwise.
Because of their large and very wet feces, a three sided shed allows the correct ventilation to keep bedding and nesting areas drier and easier to clean out. Some people find it good to keep pallet floors and only keep bedding in low nest boxes. The droppings fall through the slats and have time to dry there below without being tracked into. The pallets are easily replaceable and can be dragged out(along with fecal load) and just as easily put back when emptied of their manure.
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