Raised floor or just dirt floor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by goodbull92, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. goodbull92

    goodbull92 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 8, 2012
    NE Texas
    My kids & I are newbies to raising laying hens. We are currently in the beginning stages of building our hen house & would like any and all input on wheter to have a raised floor vs dirt floor (that I would still cover with pine shavings). We are getting our chicks next week & plan on having everything finished in the next 3 weeks. Please give us your suggestions & pros/cons!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I have a dirt floor in my walk-in coop. I closed off the end of a long shed to make the coop. I put in a swale above it to direct water away from it and added a few inches of dirt inside to build it up to make sure water would not run into it even in a heavy rain. The coop floor does need to stay dry. The run needs to stay dry too as best you can, but the coop floor is even more important. I did put an apron around the coop to keep digging predators out.

    If you can keep it dry, a dirt floor is fine. It's cheaper, easier to build, and easier to maintain. If you cannot keep it dry, a raised floor is appropriate.
     
  3. goodbull92

    goodbull92 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 8, 2012
    NE Texas
    Thanks for the reply!
    I plan on trenching around the perimeter about 1 ft deep & putting an apron made of old corrugated tin around the coop & run. That would give 1ft below the surface & 1ft above; hopefully keeping predators out & keeping water from washing. Do you think that will suffice?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  4. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    So long as the floor stays dry, I would always go with dirt. Chickens love to scratch around in it and take dust baths.

    I guess it all depends on how big of a coop you are building. Mine is currently 20x40 feet that I close them up in at night then they have a very large lot that I turn them out on during the day. Mine being so large, cleaning isnt a real problem. If you have a small coop a raised floor could make it much easier to remove waste. I don't think there is a real right or wrong answer..just depends on your situation.

    Good luck!
     
  5. goodbull92

    goodbull92 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 8, 2012
    NE Texas
    My coop is planned for 12x6 with 10 external nest boxes. My run is appoximately 300 square ft. I hope to have about 22-26 hens. I hope this is large enough. I do believe I will continue with the dirt floor option & shouldn't have any issues keeping it dry.....thanks!
     
  6. Oakieridge

    Oakieridge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use a general rule of 4 sq ft. per full grown bird inside the coop and 8-10 sq ft. of run space. This has kept us from having to many issues of pecking at each other.

    Cathie
     
  7. DanielHoover

    DanielHoover Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2012
    Since you live in Texas I would go with the elevated floor. The ants and snakes are
    very numerous in Texas. In the north dirt is the way to go, because dirt floors are
    less drafty.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The 4 square feet in the coop along with 10 square feet in the run is a rule of thumb used by some on ths forum that will keep most people out of trouble in most climates and under most conditions. In Northeast Texas and with a run that size, if you don't leave them locked up in the coop for very long when they are awake, you should be fine with a coop that size for that number of chickens. The amount of space a chicken actually needs varies a lot, depending in the individual chicken, how you manage them, and how many you have. It's the combination of coop, run, and free ranging space with the way you manage them that counts.

    I'm a huge advocate of providing as much space as you can. Not because I pamper my chickens but because I find I work less if I provide more space. For example, consider poop management. I firmly believe the less often I have to clean out my coop, the better. Besides, the more room I have to play with, the more flexibility I have in how I manage them.

    I will mention a couple of things. Another rule of thumb on this forum is to provide about 1 nest for every 4 hens. You'll find that they will probably use a very few of the nests you provide even if you stick with this 1 for 4 ratio, but I would not provide ten nests. With that number of hens, 5 or 6 nests will be plenty. If you hang those external nests, they can be tedious to build. I provided external access to my nests and never use it. I prefer to go into the coop to look around. I've found possums and snakes in there when I went inside, plus once a hen was dead on the coop floor. I just prefer to go in and look around. If you were building a different type of coop, my suggestion would change but with walk-in coop, I really like walking in.

    The other thing I'll mention is that building material normall comes in 4' and 8' dimensions. With the exception of the roof, you could probably build a 8' x 12' coop instead of a 6' x 12' for the cost of an additional sheet of plywood and maybe 2 wall studs, do less cutting of materials, and have less waste. The roof will cost more though. That extra cost of the roof may be relatively substantial to span the extra 2 feet width and provide overhang for drainage. A lot of that depends on where you are getting your building materials and how you build it. There are trade-offs and decisions in everything.
     
  9. goodbull92

    goodbull92 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 8, 2012
    NE Texas
    Thanks for all of the information.

    The only reason I decided to go with the 12x6 coop is that we are converting an old 6x6 playhouse that the kids don't use anymore. We were able to just add 2 more 4x4 posts & go with it. However, I am considering building it so that if it does become too crowded I can easily turn it into a 12x12 by simply mirroring what we have on one side.

    The only reason I was even thinking about external nest boxes is so that my youngest 2 kids didn't have to go into the coop to collect eggs(plus save inside space). I am not sure how comfortable they will be about going in & really want to get them involved in this. Do you think that will help with the kids interest?

    I do think I will change the nest box number to 8. That would be 2 with 4 nests each.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012

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