Directly on Ground vs. Off Ground?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Fruitloopz, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Fruitloopz

    Fruitloopz In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2010
    Is it better for chickens (specifically silkies, if that makes any difference) to be off the ground, with a raised floor or directly on the ground? I'm thinking off the ground would be safer, but of course I want them to be on the dirt & grass as well. While looking at pictures of the coops here, I wonder what is keeping predators from digging underneath to get in?
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010

  2. GermanChick

    GermanChick Songster

    Apr 12, 2010
    NW Missouri
    My coop is 2 feet off the ground, I think it has to be at least 1 1/2 to 2 feet so you don't get some unwanted critters underneath there. My chickens LOVE to hang out underneath their coop in the shade, actually half of their day they spend there, I guess it makes them feel safe ......... they are free ranging all day but still that is their favorite spot.
  3. Dingleberry

    Dingleberry Songster

    Apr 22, 2010
    I would think for their coop area to be just off the ground, they can range in the run on the grass.
  4. sydney13

    sydney13 Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    mine is off the ground so that it is safer and their is gravel around it
  5. Noncentzter

    Noncentzter Songster

    Nov 17, 2009
    Southern Oregon Coast
    Mine is on the ground...on a cement pad actually and I have sand inside the coop for the great and an easy cleanup!
  6. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    See my BYC page for pics. My coop is on a brick foundation with a sub-ground dirt floor using the deep litter method. The brick foundation is deep enough nothing has dug into in or even tried that I've noticed and its been in use for over 15 years.
  7. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    Do you mean the coop (house) or run? I had those mixed up for awhile. I thought coop and run were the same thing.

    For the run... I think having it on the ground is the best so they can scratch around in the dirt. You can bury the fencing under ground, or lay more fencing horizontally along the fence, but on the outside of it. Then wire them together. When you are standing outside of the run you are actually standing on wire. Anything that tries to dig there is just digging on wire and won't get far.

    For the coop... I think it doesn't matter as long as there is a floor. Or do the same trick with the fencing as you would with the run?

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The run should probably be directly on the ground if at all possible, i.e. except in extenuating circumstances. Scratching in the dirt is such a central part of chicken behavior, it'd be a huge shame to deprive them of that, etcetera.

    Whether the COOP (the house part) is directly on the ground vs raised is a tradeoff. Dirt floors are easy and cheap to build, and provide some useful thermal mass in a decent-sized coop; on the other hand they require extra predatorproofing, are prone to flooding, and for a reach-in coop can be hard on your back.

    To predatorproof an area that is directly on the ground, basically you have to either use a poured concrete slab or the equivalent (good for coop, not good for run unless it's unavoidable or rats are a known huge problem), or bury very heavy gauge fencewire at least 12-18" deep ALL around, or run a 2-4' apron of heavy gauge fencewire on (or just under) the ground, well affixed to the base of the fence and well pinned down at the edge.

    Goo dluck, have fun,


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