6 Chicken Coop Floor Options and Which One Is Right for You
Whether you build your chicken coop or buy one from the shop, there are a lot of ideas that you will need to make.
Should the coop be made of wood or plastic? How many nesting boxes should there be? How many square feet per bird? Do you need all those extra features, such as swings, roasting bars, and built-in feeders?
While many of these ideas are purely cosmetic, there is a decision you will need to make that is extremely important.
What kind of floor should it be?
Choosing a floor for your chicken coop increases health, hygiene and budgetary concerns.
Of course, there is also the comfort level of your chickens to think about and the overall appearance of your coop.
When choosing the right floor for your coop, keep these factors in mind.
Leaving a floor without a floor
Before you dive too deep into the many types of flooring in your chicken coop, it is important to address the question. Can you just go without a floor in a chicken coop?
Yes and no This concept has some advantages and disadvantages.
The main issue with the chicken coop having no floor is that if the coop is stable, it can be very difficult to remove the chicken manure.
For example, if you are placing your chickens in the barn without a floor, you may find that the prey is repeatedly trampled by the chickens until it is completely closed. If you have a floor, you can take the manure out of the barn.
You also have to make sure, if you don’t use a floor, that there is a way to keep predators out of the coop.
If the coop is tight and secure, this should not be an issue.
However, in some cases, you may have to worry about opportunistic critters digging under the walls of the coop and going inside.
An un-floored chicken coop may be the best bet, however, for those designed in a tractor style. This will allow you to move the coop where it needs to go and collect the drops in one place. There is no need to clean the coop as the coop will often be moved and the manure will be left to lie where it falls.
Types of ingredients for chicken coop floor
There are several common ingredients you can consider for a chicken coop floor – here are your options.
Many chicken keepers take advantage of concrete floors for their coop. Truth be told, concrete is probably the safest flooring option as it eliminates the possibility of digging predators. It is also low maintenance and does not rot, meaning it can last forever.
It is also damage-free – you are going to have a hard time cracking or otherwise damaging your concrete floor!
Concrete keeps rodents out and keeps them cool in hot weather, an advantage for chicken keepers in hot weather. It is also easy to clean and disinfect. Even the largest dirt can easily be taken care of with a blast from a bucket of bleach and a hose.
Said, pouring concrete slabs can be costly and time consuming. If not properly inserted and leveled, gaps around the sides (between the floor and walls) can allow for cold drafts and predators.
If the soil is not stable and over time, it can injure the legs of your chickens. It is also cold in the cold season, so for those keeping chicken with cold climate, this should be considered.
Concrete is also a permanent solution. An advantage in this is that you will never have to do anything with it again – but if you plan to pursue your coop in the future, this possibility will be eliminated.
Plywood is another option that many chicken keepers turn to when designing their coops.
There are many benefits from this. For one, it is readily available and inexpensive. It is easy to build with, allowing you to add chicken coop very fast. It is relatively easy to maintain, with no gaps and cracks that you might find with a wooden slate floor.
For the most part, plywood also excludes predators and rodents.
However, plywood can prove to be an issue when it comes time to clean up. The bits of the bed can cling to the plywood, and it is not really possible to use a pressure washer to get the dirt out. Of course, it can rot over time, even if you use pressure treated wood.
3. wooden slab
Wood floors are made of either slats or any other non-plywood wood options, which are easily constructed and readily available. Many people (myself included) use wood flooring because they are relatively easy to clean and quick to clean, and are low in cost.
The downside to using wood for your floor is that sometimes it can be difficult to clean. Cracks and gaps between droplets can get trapped, and they can rot over time. Even if you take the time to wash such a coop, keeping it clean can still be a cause for trouble.
You also need to pay attention to how these floors are constructed – keep your boards even wider and hunters will be able to go inside.
Some chicken keepers also use vinyl on their coop floors. This is not something I suggest. Made from materials such as ground cork dust, solid linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour, and other filler, it can be toxic.
While this is generally not a problem when we use vinyl in our homes, it is problematic for chicken coop. Why? Think of it this way – when was the last time you cut off the floor of your kitchen?
The vinyl is durable, but you need to be careful about using it in the coop, as it is possible for chickens to ingest bits and pieces. They will also tear it over time, so you have to keep changing it.
Wires are another option. If you decide to go with the wire, use only the strongest, least flexible option, so that you get some protection from predators. Wire is probably the least secure option in terms of coop protection.
However, it is the best option regarding hygiene. The drops will just fall through the floor, so you won’t need any bedding. If you are interested in a portable chicken coop, wire is the way to go.
It can also be the most hygienic, as there is very little direct contact with any of the drops. This provides an additional benefit of ventilation, especially if the coop is elevated, meaning it can be cooler in summer.
Of course, its convincing is that it can be somewhat suspicious in winter. When the right type of wire is not used, you also have the additional problem of drops getting trapped in the wires. It can counterintuitively, barely, to clean it.
I do not recommend wire for chicken coop that will serve as the “primary hang out” for your chickens. Prolonged exposure to a wire floor can injure the legs of your chickens, so if they are not allowed outside the free-range, I will clarify this option.
If you decide to use wire for your chicken coop floor, use a material that is rigid and durable – hardware fabrics or welded wire are good options for prevention of predator.
6. Rubber Mats
Chicken mats are not typically used in chicken coop in exclusivity.
However, they can be used over any other paving option that we have mentioned for added durability. To do this, most chicken keepers will buy mats designed for horse or animal stalls from their local feed suppliers.
These bulky mats do not eliminate the need for a bed – you will need a bed in the coop. However, they add an additional barrier to rot from time to time. They also reduce the “slippery” of wood or concrete floors and can help keep it both warm and cool.
Of course, they are expensive. They serve as just another feature in the coop that will have to change over time.
Painting Your Floor: Yes or No?
Some people advocate painting the floor of the chicken coop. Paint is often used as a liner to help fill in a gap or offer a permanent finish that will protect the floor from damage.
If you use bedding in coop, paint and other lining materials (other options include vinyl, linoleum, rubber-forming materials like flex seals, and mats) are probably not necessary.
The exception is if you disinfect your chicken coop regularly. Disinfectants can especially damage a wood floor, so a painted floor can be helpful in that case.
Otherwise, this is a step that you do not need to worry about. In addition, some paints and other flooring materials, such as vinyl and rubberized coatings, may be toxic to chickens if they peck at them.
Don’t ignore the bed
A good bed pack is necessary regardless of the type of chicken coop floor you decide to install.
Even the damaging effects of concrete floors (especially those related to cold weather and effects on chickens’ feet) can be reduced with a good bed.
A soft bed pack will prevent direct contact between your chickens and the floor, reducing the chances of foot injuries.
Some of the most popular bedding options include wood shavings, straw, sand, and shredded paper.
We use a mixture of sliced paper, sliced cardboard, wood shavings and straw in our coop. This helps keep costs down since we use whatever is available to us. It can help reduce odors and makes disease related problems almost non-existent.
You can read more about the pros and cons of different types of chicken bed here.
What type of flooring is best?
Finally, there is no single best option for a chicken coop floor, although you definitely need to consider the concerns above to determine the best option for your unique situation.
Personally, we have always used a plywood floor. While it has many disadvantages (being one of them, the tendency to rot), it is safe and lightweight. This is a good alternative to our portable chicken coop which we move in and out of the garden every year.
Weigh all the possible factors listed above.
You’ll be able to find the right floor to keep you – and most importantly, your chickens – happy and comfortable.
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