Confused about coops that sit on the ground

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KnoxvilleGirl, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. KnoxvilleGirl

    KnoxvilleGirl New Egg

    Nov 9, 2013
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Hi. I have a newbie question that I hope doesn't sound too dumb...

    I'm curious about flooring options. Basically it seems like there are two kinds of coops/runs those that have some kind of flooring (linoleum, wood, concrete, etc) and those that sit on the ground. My starter coop and run sit on the ground, with the enclosed "house" and nesting area with ramp and door to close at night elevated off the ground. Although my coop with attached run are not an actual chicken tractor - no wheels - I've been lifting it (with two helpers) and moving it on to a fresh patch of yard every 2 weeks or so.

    However, I see some large, not-designed-to-move coop and run designs that also sit on bare ground, and I am wondering how that works. If you have your coop and/or run on the ground but it stays in one place, how do you manage keeping the "floor" clean? Doesn't the ground get pretty damp and nasty over time? Do you put some kind of bedding down everywhere?

    Thanks for any insight any of y'all can offer me on this!
  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I move my coop once a year and use the run area to plant my Garden in the spring.




  3. DeckDuck

    DeckDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2013
    My coops are all elevated too. I'm going to do things differently next time, though. It seems that a coop designed like a garden shed or tiny barn with the floor close to the ground would be the easiest and most efficient to clean. A wood floor with some kind of plastic flooring over the top would be really easy to clean. Oh, my back feels better just thinking about it!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  4. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2013
    My coop is elevated because it is easier for me to clean with out bending over and it doesn't take away from the square footage in the run because they can go underneath it. I have about 5 inches of sand in the run and it is very easy to clean with a cat litter scoop and a rake, usually a Saturday project.
  5. Beulah89

    Beulah89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well my coop sits on bare earth and it's fine. I throw in dead leaves and stuff from the garden for them to scratch around and poo in. I rake some out every week or so a put it in the compost bin. It works great!
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    No questions are dumb...well, there's one, but never mind.

    If a 'floorless' coop is located where there are no drainage issues, ei: in a low spot, on a slope that rainwater runs down, it could be maintained pretty easily with some of the same beddings that are used in a floored coop.

    Now if you're a 'clean freak' and want everything to be spick and span all the time or be able to remove all bedding and disinfect the floor, then it probably wouldn't suit you.

    One con to a 'floorless' coop would be predator protection, a floor makes it a bit easier to deter diggers...but a floor low to the ground can actually harbor pests cause it can be a nice cozy place to live.

    Just some thoughts.
    2 people like this.
  7. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    +1 Pretty much my thoughts as well.

    Very large coops often are floorless due to cost. Ideally smaller coops are best with some type of raised floor even if just 3 or 4 inches off the ground. Chickens like to scratch and dig and probably best that they scratch down to the dirt in the run instead of the coop.

    :: Coup to the left and up 4" off the ground. Run to the right with straw and pine chips on ground ::

  8. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have two floor designs in my chicken operation. The large coop has a dirt floor. I clean it out twice a year and use deep litter. We are fairly dry, but even with the torrential rains we got last summer, the coop floor was always dry. People come to see the operation and comment on how the coop doesn't smell bad...
    In my brooding and growout pens I use evelated smaller coops with wood floors. (mostly with re-purposed lumber). The main reason I like these to be elevated is to provide some deep shade for the chicks. Even in these, I keep a good layer of bedding, and clean them out only as needed. I don't move my coops and pens, they are where they will remain.

    For bedding, it varies. In the brooding houses, I use wood shavings. Nice and soft for the young chicks. The ground in teach of the runs has weeds and grass that they eventually eat. The brooding and growout pens aren't used full time, so the grass and weeds grow back each year. In the growout houses I use old hay or straw. They get alot of it outside the door, but that's ok with me. The main hen house gets a combination of old hay, straw, and dry leaves I get from folks who don't want to pay to have it hauled away. They give it to me, I give them some eggs. In November and May of each year (next week for me) I clean out all the old bedding, usually about 10 large wheelbarrows of the stuff, and start it composting. I add layers of whatever if there to give about 6 inches of depth to start out. Then each month I add about a bale of straw or a large bag of leaves. This builds up, the chickens scratch through it, keeping it mixed. Works great.

    Just what I do.

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