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11 Best Chicken Coop Floor Materials (Cement vs. Straw vs. Woodchips!)

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If you’re planning on building a new home for your chickens, understanding the best floor types for your chicken coop is essential! The best floor types help keep your hens happy, healthy, and comfortable.

Choosing the best flooring for a chicken coop will also make your chicken house hygienic and easy to clean, reducing the risk of problematic pests such as rodents, mites, and lice.

Backyard chicken coop with straw or hay flooring.

We have tons of experience with various chicken coop floor materials, and we want to share which ones we prefer.

Sound good?

Then let’s begin!

11 Best Floor Materials for a Chicken Coop

Here are our top 11 suggestions for the best types of flooring for a chicken coop. (From extravagant and fancy to thrifty!)

1. Concrete as Chicken Coop Floor

We think cement is the best floor type for chicken coops. It’s solid flooring – and dependable! An excellent chicken coop design report by the Oregon State University Extension service recommends cement or wood to accommodate your happy chickens. They also advise creating sloped floors. That way, your chicken coop floor drains without fuss when you hose things down or use a pressure washer. We love the idea – it makes regular cleaning a breeze! You can also install prefab chicken coops if your coop has a solid foundation. Food for thought!

Concrete flooring is an excellent option if you’re building a chicken coop that will permanently reside in one location. 

The joy of a concrete floor in a chicken coop is that it ticks all the boxes – it is easy to clean, rodent-proof, and will not harbor mites and lice. It is also predator-proof, as foxes will not be able to dig their way into your coop.

You can use poured concrete or lay concrete slabs when making concrete flooring. You will need a level surface to start with, preferably in an area that does not tend to get waterlogged in wet weather.

Although concrete flooring isn’t the cheapest option, it is a worthwhile investment as it will last many years. You may be lucky enough to have an area of concrete already on your homestead. In this case, you can build your coop directly on top of it!

2. Wooden Floor

Here you see excellent chicken coop flooring. Wood floors! Wood is among the most common materials for chicken coops. And it’s our favorite. Wood is easy to clean, secure, and heat. (Keep your chickens warm!) One reminder we read from the Umass Extension about wooden floors is that your chickens still require bedding. Bedding helps to soften the strain on your chicken’s feet. Bedding also helps to absorb odor and moisture – a welcome relief in a busy coop.

Wood is a more affordable chicken coop flooring option for many people. Waste wood can get upcycled to create a chicken coop floor. It will not be as long-lasting as concrete, but you should get several years out of a solid wooden coop floor. The cleaner and drier you keep the floor, the longer it will last.

One issue to be aware of with wooden floors is that rodents may chew through any weak or rotten areas, and problematic pests such as lice and mites may lurk in the gaps. However, many chicken coops have had wooden flooring for years without any problems – as long as they exercise proper hygiene measures.

3. Rubber Mats

tiny bantam chicks eating lunch inside a chicken coop
Here you see a chicken looking for snacks inside its chicken run and outdoor coop. Notice the fluffy and all-natural flooring! The soft spongy surface reminded us of a rubber mat. Rubber mats make helpful chicken coop floors for two critical reasons. First, they’re easy to clean! (Much more straightforward than the dirt and grass you see in the photo above.) You can effortlessly hose your rubber mat when cleaning the coop without fuss. Rubber mats also lessen the impact on your chicken’s feet – especially if there’s a hardwood floor or cement floor underneath the rubber mats.

Rubber mats are a good investment for a chicken coop that moves from place to place. It can be laid directly onto a level piece of ground, providing an easy-to-clean surface in your chicken coop.

One clever way to use rubber mats is to design your coop so the entire mat will slide out from underneath. You can then clean it without needing to go inside the chicken house. I’ve seen a fantastic design where the whole floor of the chicken coop glides out on runners – something we’ll be copying when we expand our chicken housing!

Combine your rubber mats with these rubber nesting pads for super easy cleaning!

4. Dirt Floor

Dirt floors might be an ideal choice for thrifty backyard chicken keepers! It’s easy on chicken feet and is a popular choice because it helps promote dust bathing. But we don’t think dirt flooring is best, considering cleanliness and coop safety. We’re always paranoid that raccoons or coyotes will dig underneath the chicken coop – or chicken run! One insight we read from a guide on the UC Master Gardener Program (UC ANR) website solved that problem. They installed chicken wire or hardware cloth along their chicken tractor’s dirt flooring to help keep their chickens safe. We love the idea!

You may not have considered this idea, but do you need a floor in your chicken coop at all? As long as the location of your chicken coop is dry and not prone to flooding and rainwater runoff, a compacted dirt floor can be the perfect solution.

The great thing about this option is that it is free and takes very little work, but there are some downsides to consider.

Pesky parasites such as worm eggs can become integrated into the dirt, leading to infestations in your flock. Laying bedding such as wood shavings (like pine shavings) underneath the perches makes it easier to keep the coop clean and hygienic.

5. Linoleum

comfy chicken resting in the chicken coop ready for a nap
Here you see a lovely ginger poultry snuggling in some hay. We think it’s ready for a nap! The chicken doesn’t care what chicken coop material is underneath all the soft, fluffy bedding. It could be linoleum, wood, or cement. Your chickens will love the coop flooring if it keeps them safe from predators outside and there are no mold or lingering pest problems!

When we moved into our house, we needed a complete renovation. The rotting floorboards had linoleum covering, which was the perfect floor for our chicken coop! We used wooden pallets on a dirt floor with a sheet of linoleum stapled over the top. The result was surprisingly easy to clean and raises the floor enough to keep it dry in wet weather.

If you’re considering linoleum for your chicken coop floor, make sure it is not vinyl. Vinyl can be toxic to chickens if they peck at it.

Read More!

6. Plastic Flooring

farmer feeding hungry farmyard chickens over a vintage floor
Plastic isn’t our favorite chicken coop flooring. But we admit plastic is still one of the most popular chicken coop flooring materials. And even the Oregon State Extension Service lists plastic chicken coops as acceptable. We suppose that one advantage of plastic chicken coops is that they’re ideal options if you keep a clean chicken coop – as they’re excellent deep-cleaning candidates. They’re easy to rinse with a hose. But beware of the slippery surface when you navigate your plastic coop flooring! Consider floor covering (hay or rubber mats) for added traction.

Prefabricated chicken coops often come with solid plastic floors, which can be an impeccable option for smaller chicken coops. Hardened plastic is hygienic and easy to clean. It’s also lightweight enough to maneuver easily.

You may have trouble sourcing a piece of hard plastic flooring that fits your coop perfectly, so it pays to factor this into your chicken coop building plans. I’d suggest getting the floor first, then building your coop to fit it!

7. Liquid Rubber

Liquid rubber is excellent if you want a water-tight and easy-to-clean floor in your chicken coop. It can be time-consuming, as several layers are required to create a durable, easy-to-clean surface.

However, the initial outlay in terms of time and money will result in a floor that prevents water ingress and keeps your hens clean, warm, and dry, whatever the weather.

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8. Sand

chickens and roosters in a rustic chicken coop with a sand floor
Sand and dirt are popular options for chicken coop flooring and for raising chickens. They’re easy and work for cold weather and warm weather. However, sand and dirt both have notable downsides. They’re harder to clean than cement or wood! It’s tricky removing chicken manure and chicken feed from the sand. Before long – the chicken coop floor resembles a messy compost pile. We also read another fascinating insight from the University of Arizona Coop Extension. Their dog days of summer guide mentions how sand can help your hot chickens during the warm months. They suggest lightly misting the chicken coop’s floor can help keep your flock cool during the hot spells. And – sand can help keep things tidy when applying a gentle mist. Interesting insight!

Sand can get used as semi-permanent flooring in a chicken coop. And it works similarly to a kitty litter tray. The advantage of sand is that it also fulfills your hen’s need to scratch and have dust baths on days when bad weather confines them to the coop.

For starters, you will need to lay at least two inches of construction sand (or at least construction-grade sand) in your coop. Scoop out the droppings every couple of days to keep the chicken coop clean, and periodically top up the sand as necessary.

9. Woodchips

chickens inside a homemade coop with wood chip flooring
Wood chips are one of our favorite chicken coop flooring options. And wood chips can make a soft bedding material and a lovely addon for your chicken yard. You can also add wood chips atop wood flooring or vinyl flooring. It’s adaptable and works well with others. (But we also advise changing your wood chips regularly – especially when you come into direct contact!)

Woodchips can be used similarly to sand to create a semi-permanent chicken coop floor. Woodchips provide a very natural environment for your chickens to live in, and they will enjoy scratching through the woodchips to hunt out tasty bugs.

A woodchip floor is not as easy to keep clean as some of the other options on our list, so you may want to put a different surface directly under the perches, where droppings tend to accumulate. The woodchip will rot down over time and need to be removed and replaced, but this rotted chicken-poop-filled woodchip makes excellent mulch for the garden!

10. Plywood

looking inside an empty chicken coop with a wooden floor
No matter what chicken coop flooring you use, you can always add a thin straw layer on top! Straw helps to keep your chickens warm during the cold weather. And most hens love cuddling with hay in their nesting box! (But remember to keep things clean! Ensure the straw or hay stays dry – and renew it regularly to prevent unpleasant odors. And mold!)

Sheets of plywood can be cut to size to create a smooth, gap-free chicken coop floor that is easy to clean. When kept clean and dry, plywood will last many years without any problems.

One problem that many homesteaders encounter with plywood floors is that rodents may set up their homes in any gaps underneath. Ensure the edges get securely sealed to keep troublesome vermin away from your precious hens.

11. Hemp

white laying hens in a rural chicken coop with metal nesting boxes

Hemp bedding works to create deep-litter flooring that is warm and comfortable for your hens. The hemp works great for overwintering chickens inside a large coop or barn, as hemp is highly absorbent and will gradually break down into lovely compost. Lay a thick layer of hemp in the chicken coop to start. Then top it up with a thinner layer every few days to cover any droppings.

Best Floor Types for a Chicken Coop – FAQs

Now we’ve got your chicken coop flooring options all figured out, let’s explore some other common questions about this topic!

What Is Best to Put On the Floor of a Chicken Coop?

Predators, rodents, parasites, and poor hygiene are the primary areas of concern for chicken coops. The best flooring to take care of all these problems is concrete. Concrete floors are easy to clean and (when properly implemented) keep pests at bay.

Many homesteaders do not put a floor in if they use a chicken tractor system. The coop is frequently moved to fresh ground, leaving behind an area cleared and fertilized by the hens.

How Do You Keep a Chicken Coop Floor Clean?

There are three systems for keeping a chicken coop floor clean. Deep litter bedding systems are continually topped up with bedding to cover soiled material. Then the entire lot is dug out once or twice a year.

Alternatively, you can use a thin layer of bedding that gets removed (approximately) weekly. Some chicken owners prefer not to use any bedding whatsoever, instead sweeping out droppings and washing the floor as required.

Is It Okay to Use Pressure-Treated Wood for Chicken Coops?

We advise against pressure-treated wood to build a chicken coop. Pressure-treated wood could have gotten treated with toxic chemicals. Chickens like to peck at everything, including wood, and may accidentally ingest particles of tainted wood. If you are using reclaimed wood to build a chicken coop, avoid any that may have been pressure treated.

How Do You Keep a Chicken Coop From Smelling?

Chicken poop does not smell pleasant. And the odious aroma becomes even worse when wet! To combat the odor, you can remove droppings daily or cover them with a thin layer of bedding. Make sure the floor of your coop is kept dry by laying a chicken coop floor that prevents rainwater from seeping inside.

Summary – Best Chicken Coop Floor Options

I hope you’ve found our summary of the best chicken coop flooring options helpful! Keeping your hens clean, dry, and safe is the top priority for chicken owners, and this starts from the ground up.

If you have any questions or thoughts on building the perfect chicken coop, we’d be happy to hear them – we never mind chatting about our chooks! 

Thanks again for reading.

Have a great day!

ken c

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