Chickens on a wood floor : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I would like to convert a shed that has a wood floor into a chicken coop. If I put a couple of inches of dirt on the floor and replace it a couple times a year, would this prevent the floor from rotting? How about pine needles or newspaper? I do not want to use plastic or anything like that since I want to scoop the poop for the garden.

-- Tex in Colorado (, June 29, 2001


Hi Tex, I don't think the dirt would prevent rotting at all. If you paint the floor really well and then put cedar shavings or something in for the bedding that should keep the floor all right for several years with regular cleaning. If I had it to do all over again, I believe I would simply have a dirt floor and use wood chips. I put in a concrete mixed with dirt floor to try to aid in the cleaning and I thought it would keep down the flies. I was wrong about that. Seems the flies are best kept down with a dirt floor because there are natural predators that develop a population in dirt over time. Good luck with your project!

-- Doreen (, June 30, 2001.

we built our coop with a wood floor in March. I have 7 hens that are in the coop from 8pm until next day at noon and free ranging the other hours. I just cleaned the coop for the first time last week and was surprised that the wood floor was dry as a bone. We keep about two feet of straw on it, raking out the straw under the roost every few weeks, actually, I take out the top layer every two weeks to throw into the compost heap, then just rake "clean" straw from elsewhere in the coop under the roost. We use a hanging waterer and feeder so the girls do not get to step in water or tip the container far, so good. I guess only time will tell if the wood floor stays OK. God bless.

-- lesley (, June 30, 2001.

We've been keeping our chickens on a 3/4" plywood floor for five years with no sign of damage to the floor. We keep a good layer of straw down and only clean once a month or so. The straw absorbs the moisture well enough to keep the wood from rotting. By the time that floor ever rots out we'll be moved away from here for sure.

-- Skip Walton (, June 30, 2001.

My dh built our chicken coop 7 years ago, and it has a plywood floor. We use woodchips for bedding, adding additional bales as it gets compressed. Although some of the waterers have leaked in the past, the floor is in really good condition. We clean it out twice a year, and have never had a smell or disease problem with our birds. Honestly, we have had numerous comments on how healthy the girls look, and the only area that has a stinkiness to it has been the chicken run, and only during extended wet periods.

As long as you keep a deep bedding of wood chips on the floor, plywood will give you years of service.

-- Judi (, June 30, 2001.

Of course, this is in reference to a horse barn, but no... water/urine/etc will still rot the wood. Outside of sealing it with something like a laquer (which is not only poisonous but also very expensive), you can't prevent the rot. The smell will also stay with wood... Even wood not directly in contact with urine. The best way to prevent that is to spread powdered lime frequently when cleaning.

-- Sue Diederich (, July 05, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ