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Bellatrix's avatar

What is the best type of floor for a chicken shed?

Asked by Bellatrix (21302points) March 30th, 2012

I am having some concreting done around my home. We have an existing chook (chicken) shed that needs some renovating and it currently has a dirt floor. I want to put up a separate shed for storage of garden equipment next to the chook house and I am having a concrete pad laid for this shed.

Is it better to keep the dirt floor in the chicken’s house or would a concrete floor with straw on top be better for them? When I redo the chook shed, I want it to be the best environment for happy, healthy chickens. They will also have a large, fenced off garden area to range around when not in their shed.

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19 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Concrete is better. Predators can tunnel through the dirt and get into the chicken house. Keep lots of bedding in it and you will not have any problems. And consider netting over the garden area. Predators fly too.

Akua's avatar

Oh @Bellatrix your so lucky. Someday soon I would love to have chickens but Not necessarily for food though. Are your chickens pets or do you eat them?

rooeytoo's avatar

What @Adirondackwannabe says is true but I think the chooks like a nice dirt floor with straw on it, also makes a better place for those non conformists who do not like to lay their eggs in their box. I think the best idea is for a dirt floor with a footer of concrete blocks around it. That makes it difficult for anything to dig in. Course mine like to roam all over the yard and garden, they are a bit spoiled. And really I have never lost one to flying predators, egg loving snakes are the biggest problem around our area. Shouldn’t think you have too many foxes or dingos in Brisbane burbs.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rooeytoo Great idea. I hadn’t thought to stop predators that way. It gives you the best of both.

Bellatrix's avatar

@rooeytoo, we do have foxes apparently. My daughter, when she lived at home, used to leave for work very early and she saw this animal jauntily trotting down the road… a fox! I haven’t ever seen them in the yard but they are out there. Other than that yes snakes are an issue. We are in a semi-rural area (not that being in an urban setting will stop snakes). We have lots of big lizards too. Thanks for the tips. I do prefer the idea of a dirt floor because the chickens can peck for insects and the like. I will make sure we build a besser block wall around the bottom though. We have a chook wire roof over the top of their run so things can’t fly in and get them. They will have a big area to range around outside of the shed/run too. I can’t let them go everywhere because my dogs like to herd them. They don’t hurt them intentionally but they think herding them up is a fun thing to do. The chickens do not agree.

@Akua we inherited some very old chickens. They have all died now and we don’t have any right now because renovating their palace has been on our long term plan. When we do buy some more it will be for their eggs. We won’t eat the birds. I will end up with a retirement home for elderly and beautiful chooks. And yes, I am lucky. I agree!

6rant6's avatar

Concrete is easy to wash off. Washing off dirt makes it mud. Concrete.

rooeytoo's avatar

Why would you wash a chook pen? You fork up the old straw, put it in your garden, take a branch and sweep the dirt, then put down fresh hay or straw. I don’t think @Bellatrix is into intensive factory farming so washing the floor wouldn’t seem necessary to me. I never washed the floor of a chook pen???? OMG, am I not a good chook mother?????

Bellatrix's avatar

:-| I thought I would just gather their straw, give the floor a good sweep and put the straw in the compost heap. I am also not going to be a good chook mum.

6rant6's avatar

It’s what I’ve read. But not all fowl are created equal, I suppose. It depends on the amount of fertilizer they leave in the box, how often it rains, how much muck they track in, how many broken eggs end up on the floor, how often they have company to dinner, whether washing it out puts the fertilizer some place useful…

anartist's avatar

a layer of chickens who fell from their perches and are getting shat on by all the other chickens as they slowly starve to death.

I jest, but I hope you are not running a high production outfit like this [this does happen in the industry]

Coloma's avatar

I wouldn’t use concrete. Hard on their feet, legs.
They will be scratching at the bedding, shavings, hay etc. and hitting concrete. If they are jumping off roosts they can injure their legs if they are heavier birds. You could use plank flooring, but both concrete and wood are hard to keep clean and disinfect.

I would go with an earth/sand floor with bedding and rake out every few weeks or so and add fresh bedding to keep it clean. My geese have wood flooring in their barn with shavings and it is easily raked out and cleaned.

My chickens had houses with wood flooring and deep shavings.
Shavings are better, more absorbent and easier to clean than wet, smelly hay, straw.

augustlan's avatar

Why not pour a concrete pad, then cover it with several inches of dirt, then straw?

Bellatrix's avatar

@anartist, a very small chook operation. Four maybe five at most. I just like them and we can share the eggs with other people. I am not thinking of going into competition with the major egg producers.

rooeytoo's avatar

I was just at a rural expo show. I picked up a booklet on raising chooks. In a coup with less than a dozen occupants, dirt floor with straw or hay is the chosen way. They also went on about worming and feeding anticoccidials, etc. I never did any of that. My girls did get mites once and I dusted them with powder and that was that. I don’t want to feed meds as a matter of course. The booklet was financed by a food company, I think that had something to do with their methods.

blueiiznh's avatar

It depends on how much time you have to dedicate to cleaning. Concrete can help in being able to speed the process.

My father raised hundeds of birds and built his own coops. The key is simply keeping their area clean in order to keep health issues down.

Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you everyone. Great answers here and I appreciate the input.

I can’t wait until we can get more chickens.

wallabies's avatar

I strongly disagree with concrete. I think it would be quite hard on their feet. Chickens love to scratch around in warm dirt in order to clean themselves. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a huge issue it depends on the density, i.e. how many you have in what area. Keep the dirt. Use the straw as bedding where the roost. They like to be off the ground so hopefully you have a place that is elevated for them to sleep.

6rant6's avatar

Are they in the coop all day? Or they allowed out during the day to forage? I assumed that they wer out during the day, which makes the foot issues go away.

Bellatrix's avatar

No @6rant6, they will have a big area outside their coop to range around. I am going to put a fence around a big section of the garden so they will have their own chook world.

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