i have no clue what to use...


11 Years
Oct 5, 2008
Hope Mills, NC
I am getting 3 chickens. Well, I have them, but have to trade due to 2 roosters, so yeah.

I want to do a 4x4x4 coop. I want it raised 3 ft off the ground.

My main question is, could tile/vinyl flooring do fine, or do I need to do litter?

What is the deep litter method?

Can I use the red cedar chips (like for dog kennels)?

What are good bedding choices? pine, aspen, cedar, paper, straw, sand, grass clippings

Right now they are in a tractor full time, so they are on the grass and sleep in something similar to a large nest box


Queen Of Clueless
11 Years
Jul 27, 2008
I wouldnt use cedar chips. I generally use pine. I dont know about tile/vinyl, I suppose it depends on where you are at? Someone else will probably have ideas on this. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with!


11 Years
Feb 24, 2008
Carrollton, GA
In so small an area, cedar may cause respiratory issues. I use pine shavings. They're cheaper and available at any feed store. I also slip a bit of diatomaceous earth under the bedding, it's a natural insect deterrent. I use plywood flooring in my coops. I like to whitewash it. Whitewashing gives it some water resistance, mite resistance, mildew resistance, bacterial resistance. It costs next to nothing and is very easy to apply. I use 3 coffee cans of hydrated lime (comes in 50 lb. bags, stores well), half a lb. of pickling salt and water to make a thin, chalky liquid. You won't want to breathe the dust that comes off of it until it's mixed. When you first paint it on, you'll swear I fooled you. It looks like you've painted water on the wall, but when it dries, you'll see something good and attractive.


11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
I have a small coop also, and 4 small hens.

I have sheet vinyl over the plywood floor because I got a scrap cheap and figured it would be easy to clean. You can't use just vinyl though becuse it is slippery so you will want bedding of some kind. I use 3-4 inches of PINE shavings. Cedar can be toxic (naturally occuring compounds in it kill bugs after all) and the advice I have gotten is not to use cedar shavings for birds. Pine is ok and available in plastic bales at the feed store. It is used primarily for horse stalls. The bales are compressed and hold way more than you'd guess when the shavings are removed and fluffed up. (just so you know and don't have a heart attack at the price )

I clean the coop daily ( it only takes 2 or 3 minutes every morning) when I go out to feed. I only clean just under the roost where the girls like to sit and poop and in front of the pop door where they wait for me to let them into the run. That gets about 90% of it. I add a couple of handfulls of shavings when they start to seem thin, a couple of times a week, and I give it a good clean out when it starts to seem dirty, which isn't all that often.

Lots of people will tell you to use the deep litter method where you keep putting down fresh litter over the top of the soiled litter. It heats as it decomposes, providing extra warmth and cutting way down on the number of times you have to clean but I found my small coop gets too, uh, fragrant. I was worried about the girls lungs so switched to the remove the realy dirty spots daily, clean and replace as needed method.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Deep litter (in the old-timey, don't clean it out just add more litter on top kind of way) does not work well in tiny coops such as 4x4x4 -- no way to ventilate it enough (at least in the cooler part of year) to avoid excessive humidity and ammonia.

Vinyl flooring (I'd recommend a piece of the sheet type, not tiles which can come unstuck and allow nasty stuff to build up between/under) is good but is not at all a substitute, in any way, for bedding. You still need bedding on top of the flooring.

Pine shavings are probably best IMO if you can get good un-dusty ones that are not excessively expensive. Straw is ok, esp. chopped straw, and composts down a little faster afterwards, but can be dusty and breed mold and be harder to clean as it packs together. Cedar, probalby not so good as there are potential respiratory problems, although some people get away with it (prob. depends on coop ventilation and cedar source. I wouldn't try it myself in a tiny coop like yours). Sand, too heavy and expensive and would require very frequent cleanout. Dried grass or leaves, better than nothing and probably free, but inclined to mold and mat. Paper, will turn into NASTY sort of paper-mache

Good luck and have fun,


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