new coop flooring - deep litter question


9 Years
May 16, 2010
south portland, maine
We have a new coop (on day 4 with it - tweaking every day) and one of my wishes was vinyl flooring for easy clean up. It's really slippery and the girls couldn't walk or jump from the roost and land easily. . . so I put down some shavings. Then I put down more and more and more -- now have about 3 inches. In their little tractor coop I only put down a few shavings which I could clean out daily as needed.

Does anyone put deep litter in a coop that people walk into? It is a mess on our shoes.
How long would it take for 3 bantams to tamp down the shavings? They seem to be scattered everywhere in the coop -- in the food and water, etc.
How will they be able to tell the nest boxes (which are on the floor) from the rest of the shavings mess?

Big question . . . should I just change over to sand?
thanks for ideas.
Regarding nesting boxes, I'd have them raised anyway. Easier to grab eggs from, poop and old bedding doesn't get kicked into it, and you get less chicken traffic in them from ones that are just looking for a place to chill.
Yes, deep litter is used in walk-in chicken coops. For walking around in a chicken coop or an animal barn, it's good to have coop shoes or barn boots. I think that's what most people do. Just something to slip on to do chores, that you keep by the door. We also have a boot brush next to the door outside. It's a frame with brushes attached that you run your shoes or boots through, to clean them off. Farm stores have them.

Feeders and water fonts are usually raised to the level of the shortest chicken's back, to keep shavings out of them. You can either hang them or set them on something. Some types can also be attached to walls.

If you don't like walking in the litter to do some of the daily chores and it's a big coop, you could make service doors to reach into the coop from the outside. That's more common in smaller coops, but you can set up a larger coop that way, too. In a coop with enough space, you can even make a wire wall that's like a room divider. You can walk into the coop and have a chicken free area. The wire wall can have a people door and service doors framed into it.

I wouldn't use sand in Maine during the cold winters.
Our coop has concrete floor with Pine Shavings best combination in my opinion. I agree raise feeder and water and barn shoes are the way to go. Sand, Not easily found in our region. My guess it must be a real pain to work with, heavy and will not dry fast in winter will freeze if wet.
thanks for the ideas.
We do have chicken shoes/boots (even have some old shoes from goodwill in a variety of sizes for visiting grandkids if they forget their old sneakers) LOL
We have tiny full-grown bantams and their backs are about 8 inches off the floor -- so everything will have to be above the level of the litter and try to keep the litter in that space to a fairly consistent depth so the girls will be on top of the litter to reach. Right now I don't think I have enough, as it shifts around and they I can see bare floor.
I use deep litter. I do not have chore boots, (I do but I don't use them) I just drag my feet on the grass on my way back to the house. I hear nitrogen is good for the lawn.

----edit cause I can not type
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One thing about the vinyl floor surface, if it is just sitting on top of plywood floor it can cause moisture problems. Harbor nice moist space for bugs to live in between vinyl surface and sub flooring. I would take it out consider just using shavings on plywood directly. If you must have vinyl floor Seal sub flooring then glue vinyl sheet product down.
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Maybe you would consider just putting it under the roosts as a poop pan? That's where the majority of the mess is, the rest would be cleaned as normal.
Um, you were going to HAVE to have shavings down, yes. Vinyl is totally not meant to be used alone; and would be a horrible difficult mess to clean if you tried (even aside from the slipperiness issue)

Then I put down more and more and more -- now have about 3 inches.

Most people would not call that deep at all

Does anyone put deep litter in a coop that people walk into? It is a mess on our shoes.

Yes, that's what people customarily do. (Mine is much deeper actually.) You think THAT's a mess to walk on, try it with just naked pooey vinyl!

How long would it take for 3 bantams to tamp down the shavings?

You can do this yourself when you put the shavings in, you know -- use the back side of a stall fork, or your feet, or whatever other implement seems handy, to mash the shavings down so they are not a loose fluff. It definitely does help control them, although it takes an extra couple minutes (depending on coop size)

They seem to be scattered everywhere in the coop -- in the food and water, etc.

Raise the food and water up to the height of the hens' backs. If they still pile shavings up against them and foul the feeder/waterer, have the feeder/waterer either hanging or on something like a table or shelf, that does not have solid horizontal sides for drifts of shavings to lean up against. Rigged right it is usually possible to keep your water and feed at least 90% free of bedding.

If you are still having problems because the birds are small, just make little tables to put the feeder/waterer up on (or shelves) -- need only be big enough for birds to stand around the feeder/waterer, and can be as high as the birds can easily hop. I've recently started doing that in some of my pens, as per suggestion from someone whose name I unfortunately forget on another thread about improving 'habitat complexity' in the coop, and it works really well for keeping things clean!

should I just change over to sand?

I am not sure where Portland is, but I should think that even coastal Maine would be well below freezing for a lot of the winter, and in such conditions sand is really really hard on chickens' feet (and you can get frostbit toes or even lost feet from it). I wouldn't recommend it unless you are in a somewhat warmer climate. Mind, pooey sand gets on your shoes TOO

Good luck, have fun,

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I have deep litter right now, although I am going to switch to sand for the rest of the summer, and use litter in winter. Anyway, when I walk inside (I DO have coop shoes that I use) I stir everything up real good with a small rake on a long handle. It fluffs the shavings up, stirs the poo in, and I rarely end up with anything much on my shoes.

Paradise Chickens
"Poultry in Motion!"

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