No matter what kind of structure you are building, the floor is important because it provides structure, support, insulation, and protection. The floor of one building will have different requirements than another, though.
If you are building a chicken coop, you will need to choose the floor materials carefully. Some may be cheap but ineffective, while others may be effective but expensive. Being able to compare the different materials can help you determine the best one for your needs.
In this article, we showcase the six best flooring options for a chicken coop. We go into detail about each material type, explain why material matters, and help you pick which option is best for you. Let’s get started!
Why Does Floor Material Matter?
Floor material for your chicken coop matters a lot. The floor is what your chickens will be standing on, and it will be what they are going to the bathroom on. You want a material that is sturdy enough that it provides them a safe area, but you also want it easy to clean.
At the same time, the floor material can add more protection for your chickens. Certain predators may be able to dig underneath the walls and into the coop if you don’t have the proper materials. With all this in mind, the floor material matters because it helps to create a safe, clean, and supported structure for your chickens.
6 Best Floor Options for a Chicken Coop
Concrete is the best floor option for a chicken coop. It is safe and prevents burrowing predators from getting into the coop. After installing the concrete, it is also low maintenance and easy to clean. You simply hose it off during the warm months using a hose or pressure washer.
The issue with concrete is that it can be expensive. Plus, it is a hassle to put in. For those who are on a strict budget and who don’t have burrowing predators nearby, the concrete floor may be too much. Plus, concrete floors are really cold in the winter.
Due to these facts, concrete flooring is best for people who have issues with burrowing predators. It is ideal for chicken owners who want an easy-to-maintain flooring option and don’t care about the price up front. It’s also a great idea if you live in a climate that is extremely hot.
If you decide to go with concrete, you will need to have it installed correctly. You will also have to add soft bedding and deep bedding for the winter. If you live somewhere with an intense winter, you might want to consider heating the coop, since the concrete will be so cold.
Even though concrete is probably the best material to make your chicken coop floors from, wood is probably the most common. It provides a sturdy structure that is easy to use in different designs. It also does not hurt the chickens’ feet or create too cold of an environment during the winter.
There are a couple of ways that you can use wood. For example, you can use wooden boards or plywood. It is up to you, based on your budget and exact needs for a chicken coop. Both wood types generally have the same pros and cons.
At the same time, wood is not an ideal option because it is more difficult to clean. Dirt and waste can easily get into the cracks of the wood grain. It can also rot out, especially if you live in an area prone to moisture buildup. Since it can rot and break easily, expect to replace it after some years.
Wood is an ideal option if you are looking for traditional coop flooring that won’t break the budget. It provides great structure and support, and you can even move the coop at a later point. However, this is not an ideal choice for chicken owners who live in a moist area or who do not want to replace their floors later.
One option that many chicken owners consider is wire. Many use a hard wire cloth or welded wire as the flooring so the waste can fall through and go straight to the ground below. With this idea, you would clean up the chicken waste by sweeping or raking underneath the floor. In theory, this creates a really sanitary chicken coop; plus, it is portable.
The issue with this option is that it is actually really difficult to clean in practice. Instead of simply hosing it out, you have to rake underneath the coop and find a way to fit the rake through the center. It also can be damaging to the chickens’ feet. It can lead to sores, musculoskeletal issues, and broken toes. The wire could also be too cold during the winter.
If you have chickens that don’t spend much time in their coop, the downsides of the wire may not be that big of a deal. Nevertheless, this is not an ideal choice if you can’t keep up with the cleaning and live in an area that can get really cold.
Since chickens are hardy animals, you may be wondering if you can just put the coop on dirt. This is a popular choice because it won’t cost any extra money or hurt the chickens’ feet.
For one thing, dirt is great because it can help you save money. You simply use the ground outside, and the coop is good to go. The softness of the floor also means you don’t have to worry about hurting your chickens or even adding bedding to the floor.
However, dirt can also be a bad option due to the fact that it is difficult to clean. This may attract rodents. It is especially a bad idea if you live in a muddy or rainy environment, since it will create a swampy mess inside the coop. It cannot be secure from pests or burrowing predators, either.
The only time that you should select dirt as the coop flooring material is if you live in a location with minimal rain and burrowing predators. You also have to be much more willing to clean out the dirt so that the chickens are not rolling in their own waste.
If you are familiar with prefab chicken coops, you have probably seen plastic flooring. Plastic flooring is ideal for its easiness to clean and disinfect, but it is not suitable for large coops and all climates. In fact, overall, plastic is an inefficient option for long-term use.
Many people opt for plastic flooring because the trays will slide out. This makes it super easy to clean and disinfect. Simply toss out the waste and clean it out with a pressure hose. It’s simple to clean the chicken coop and protect the flock.
However, plastic floorings are only used in small, raised coops. If you have a large flock, you will have to use multiple flooring pieces together, but this will often be much more expensive and take more work than the task calls for. The material is also not durable with long-term use and can become brittle.
If you have a prefab chicken coop for a small flock, a plastic floor isn’t the worst choice. In fact, it may be super convenient and comfortable enough for one or two chickens. You should not select a plastic floor if you have a large coop that you intend to use for the long term.
6. Rubber Mats
When used on their own, rubber mats are not true flooring, but they can be paired with almost any of the ideas on this list to add a bit more protection and easier cleaning. The only floor type that you cannot use it with is wire because it defeats the purpose of using wire in the first place.
Rolling rubber mats out on your floor is a great idea because it helps protect the material. This is true regardless of the material type, such as wood or concrete. If you have a wood floor, it will help extend its lifespan so that you don’t have to replace it too soon. This material is also super easy to clean. You hose it off just as you would the concrete.
Rubber mats aren’t completely perfect, though. For starters, you need to get a rubber mat that is custom made for the floor. This can be pricey, especially since you have to pair it with another flooring type.
Still, rubber mats are ideal for pairing with other flooring types because they make cleanup easier and the lifespan longer. This is especially true when selecting less-durable options, such as wooden floors, and it can make uncomfortable floors, such as concrete ones, more comfortable.
Deciding on a Material
After reading through this list of the six best chicken coop flooring materials, you might still be lost about which material you should select for your coop specifically. To help you decide between these six options, here are four factors that you should consider.
The first thing that you should consider when deciding on flooring material is your floor design. Do you want the foundation to be permanent and non-movable? Do you want it to be transportable in case you want to move the floor at a later date? This is a basic question that can help you determine which materials are best for you. For example, select concrete if you want a permanent option, but avoid concrete if you want something movable. Opt for wood instead.
In addition to the floor plan, you need to think about the climate that the coop will be placed in. Certain floors are better at creating a warmer or cooler environment. You want to match the flooring to the climate the coop will be placed in.
If you live in a cold environment, you should not opt for the concrete or wired options. Instead, wood is your best bet with rubber mats over top. For hot environments, the opposite will likely be true, but you can select wood for hot environments too.
Ease of Cleaning
You will have to clean out your chicken coop regularly. Select a material that matches your cleaning expectations. If you have a large amount of surface area to clean, you will probably want something that is simpler to clean, such as concrete. If you aren’t as concerned about the time that you put into cleaning, wood will probably be a great option.
If you are on a strict budget, concrete may not be the best choice for you. Instead, you might want to pick wood or something more affordable. Concrete may be a viable choice if you have a great deal of money to spend on your chicken coop.
Don’t Forget About the Covering
Whenever you are done building your chicken coop, don’t forget about the floor covering. Chicken coop floors need covering to add insulation and protection to the chickens’ feet and to make the coop more comfortable.
Sand can add absorption and is easy to clean, but you need to select construction sand. Otherwise, it will turn into a clay-like material if you have a large flock or if the area you live in is particularly wet. As a result, you will need to replace the sand more frequently.
Straw is another great choice. It is not really absorbable, meaning you should not select it if you live in a wet area. Other than that, it provides more insulation and is more comfortable for the chickens to walk around on and sit in.
The most popular flooring cover is pine shavings. It is inexpensive, absorbs moisture, is easy to use, and is easy to clean. This is a great choice if you want an overall affordable yet effective option. Keep in mind to select pine shavings, not cedar shavings, which can be harmful to chickens.
You can use shredded paper on the chicken coop floor too. This will add insulation and absorption. You can even toss the soiled paper into a compost pile after you’ve used it. It will not be super durable, making it less suitable for large flocks or moist environments.
When making your chicken coop, you want to select a flooring material that is durable, efficient, safe on the chickens’ feet, and easy to clean. Our overall favorite option is concrete because it provides the most protection and sanitary conditions.
If you are on a tight budget or live in a cold environment, we recommend wood. Wood will be more difficult to clean, but it will be warmer and less expensive. You can lay down a rubber mat on the wood to extend its lifespan.
No matter which option you select, remember to keep the four factors we discussed above in mind so you can find the best material for your needs. Also, don’t forget to put down the perfect bedding material for your flock for extra warmth and comfort!
- You may want to read next: How to Choose a Safe Paint for Decorating Your Chicken Coop
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay