Chicken coop floor options: The best flooring materials for your coop

13 January 2022 | Keeping Chickens

Choosing the right floor for your chicken coop is very important for your chickens’ health and happiness. The right flooring can also make your life a lot easier, after all, you’re the one who has to build, clean, and maintain it. There are many flooring options for a chicken coop such as concrete, timber boards, plywood, wire mesh or dirt. There are also many options for covering your chicken coop flooring to make it easier to clean or more comfortable for your chickens, we’ll talk about some options below.

Concrete chicken coop flooring

Concrete is the longest lasting and most durable chicken coop flooring option. The hard surface prevents burrowing rodents and other predators from getting into your coop through the floor, it is also easy to clean and very low maintenance. The down side of concrete is that it is expensive and means that your chicken coop will have to stay in the same location with its permanent concrete floor. It can also be very cold, so if you live in a cold climate then you should use a deep bedding on top of it to keep it warmer for your chickens. Concrete is the ideal flooring for chicken owners who want an easy-to-maintain flooring option for their chicken coop in a permanent location.

ProsCons
Very durable
Easy to clean
Very low maintenance
Burrowing predators can’t get through it
Expensive
Permanent
Hassle to install
Cold in winter

In the picture above you can see on the left side the clean timber board floor and on the right it has been covered with wood chip bedding that absorbs the poop. These pictures are both of the inside of an Outpost 4 Bay Hen House.

Timber board chicken coop flooring

Wood is probably the most common material used for chicken coop flooring. It is strong, easy to build and it also provides some insulation for cold environments. Timber flooring is often used in relocatable chicken coops with the flooring set up off the ground a couple of inches. The timber boards give relocatable coops extra strength which helps to prevent the building getting damaged when being moved.

Unfortunately timber boards are a bit more difficult to clean than concrete because of the rough wood grain surface and the cracks in between the boards where dirt can get stuck in. The gaps between the boards are also popular hiding spots for red mites. Wooden chicken coop flooring will not last as long as concrete, especially if you’re in a damp climate. If you’re choosing a wooden flooring we suggest that you cover it with a few coats of paint to make it easier to clean and make sure the timber is at least H3 treated to prevent it rotting. You can also cover it with plastic, rubber or linoleum to make it easier to clean, we’ll talk more about these options below.

ProsCons
Affordable
Easy to build
Good insulation
Good option for relocatable coops
Harder to clean than concrete
Gaps between boards hide red mites
Won’t last as long as concrete

Plywood chicken coop flooring

Plywood is a laminated wooden sheet that can easily be cut to fit your chicken coop floor. Like wooden boards it is strong, easy to build/install and provides good insulation for your chicken coop. The added advantage of plywood is it doesn’t have any gaps between boards for red mites hide or dirt to get stuck in. This makes it a bit easier to clean. A thick plywood (at least 12mm) is also harder for rodents or predators to get in through than timber boards just make sure there’s no gaps big enough for small rodents to squeeze through.

Plywood is not quite as strong as timber boards so it’s not usually used for relocatable chicken coops. The plywood used should be H3 treated so that it doesn’t rot and as long as you are using bedding, or a floor covering your plywood flooring will be very easy to clean. You simply remove the droppings with the bedding.

Pros Cons
Affordable
Easy to build
Good insulation
Harder to clean than concrete
Won’t last as long as concrete
Not as strong as timber boards

  

Pictured above is an inside view of an Outpost 3 bay Hen House with no floor. If you are worried about rodents getting into your chicken coop then we recommend you choose a timber floor or lay a concrete pad for your chicken coop flooring.

Dirt chicken coop flooring

You can simply use a dirt floor for you chicken coop, it is the cheapest option and dirt is a natural, soft surface for your chickens feet. Dirt flooring is commonly used for relocatable chicken coops and chicken tractors. If you move your chicken coop regularly to fresh ground your chickens will enjoy scratching in the grass and dirt and their poop will fertilize the ground.

Dirt flooring is not a good option if you have a permanent coop and live in a rainy climate as it will get muddy and messy inside your coop. It also provides no protection from predators who can burrow through dirt to get inside your chicken coop. It is also much harder to keep clean than other flooring options as you can’t just hose it off, you have to scrape off the poop with a spade.  We recommend using bedding such as wood shavings or sand if you choose a dirt floor, this will make it much easier to clean as you can just shovel out the bedding and replace it with new clean bedding as required.

Pros Cons
Cheapest option
Soft on chickens feet
Good for relocatable coops or chicken tractors
Harder to clean
Easy for rodents and predators to get in
Can get wet and muddy  

Wire mesh chicken coop flooring

Some people use wire mesh (sometimes called hardware cloth) flooring in their chicken coops. This is not a common flooring option in New Zealand but is quite common overseas for keeping predators out such as snakes and rodents. Wire mesh flooring can be easy to clean as the chicken poop falls through the mesh and can be caught on a drop sheet below, or can be swept or raked out underneath the floor. It can also used in a relocatable chicken coop so you don’t need to clean out the poop at all as the chicken coop is moved regularly to new ground and away from the mess.

This flooring option is not suitable for cold climates as it lets drafts inside and offers no insulation. You also need to be careful that the wire mesh chosen has small enough holes in it that predators can’t get through them but is strong enough that the predators can’t break the wire to get through. Be aware that chickens can injure themselves on the wire as well. If the wire mesh you choose has small holes (less than 15mm square) then the poop might not fall through, and it’d be hard to clean. If you choose wire mesh with bigger holes then rodents will be able to get through it - a mouse can get through a small 6-7 mm hole and a rat can get through a 20 mm hole.

Pros Cons
Easy to clean if in the right coop
Can help keep predators out
Good for relocatable coops or chicken tractors
May be expensive or sold in large rolls
Not suitable for cold climates
Chickens can injure themselves on it  


Chicken coop floor liner materials

The most commonly used floor liner materials are paint, linoleum, vinyl, rubber mats or plastic. If you use a thick layer of bedding such as wood shavings or sand then you probably don’t need a floor liner as all the poop gets soaked up into the bedding and the flooring won’t get dirty anyway.

Paint is definitely a good option for timber or wooden flooring. It’ll help protect the wood, make it easier to clean and prevent it from rotting if it is not treated. The paint also fills in some of the hiding spots that red mites like to live in.

Linoleum or vinyl floor coverings are often used as they are easy to clean and reasonably low cost. You do need to be careful what product you choose as some vinyl flooring is toxic and if your chickens peck at it then they can get sick. So, if you do decide to use vinyl, make sure you use a very thick layer of bedding so your chickens can’t consume the poisonous material. The quality of Linoleum and vinyl flooring products varies a lot so it might pay to get a more expensive one that will last a long time instead of having to replace it many times. It is best to staple this type of floor covering down instead of gluing it as some types of glue can be toxic and staples will also make it easier to remove and replace it you ever have to.

Rubber mats are sometimes used as a chicken coop floor covering. They offer great insulation and are easy to clean. There are many types of rubber mats available such as ones used for livestock and horse stable matting. This option is quite expensive and you’ll have to get the rubber mat custom cut to fit your chicken coop exactly.

Invest in a coop that you can move!

Outpost Chicken Coops are relocatable and designed so you can move your hens to fresh ground regularly. They come with or without a timber board floor so you can choose if you want to use a dirt, concrete or timber floor for your chicken coop. There are many circumstances where having an easy to relocate chicken coop is beneficial as well as the ability to use the chicken coop as a chicken tractor! The strong timber framing on an Outpost Chicken Coop is mounted onto heavy duty 4x4" timber skids so you can tie your tow rope onto it and drag it around your paddock or yard. Whether we plan to stay living in the same place for long term or just short term there is no telling for sure that where you want to position your chicken coop today will be where you want it in years to come. See our blog about Relocatable Chicken Coops for more information >

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