Vinyl flooring? Why not just dirt?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MamaJohnson, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Our 9 babies are 3 precious days old now, and just the sweetest little fluff balls ever! I had no clue they would be so cute!! However, the serious countdown (for hubby dear) for Coop completion is now officially underway (trying to be so nice about it... [​IMG])! Question for all y'all though - why vinyl flooring? Why not just have a hard packed dirt floor under the shavings or straw? Won't dirt better absorb any moisture, give them something to scratch into, prevent slipping, make cleaning easier (you can always add a fresh dirt layer if needed), etc.? Why do you all build a floor? Is this because your coop is off the ground? Do any of you have coops "on" the ground, and still build a floor? If so, may I ask, what advantages does that provide?
    Thanks much!
    ...Enjoying my little ladies....[​IMG]
  2. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you ever have a disease got through your flock and you need to disinfect, you will find out the joy of digging out packed dirt. Vinyl is much easier to disinfect or simply replace if you ever need to.
  3. PQ4evr

    PQ4evr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    Bellville Ohio
    We have a prefab 10x10 shed on our property with wood floors in it we plan converting into a coop. I was going to lay the vinyl tiles down for easy clean up with wood shavings on top of the flooring.
  4. Felicia

    Felicia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2009
    Dirt is a major pain. Even with my sheep and goats. The crap gets into the dirt, and its a mess. Once I completely clean out my stall, I will be putting cement down with stall mats on top of it. And my chickens will have vinyl flooring, so I don't have the same situation with them too.
  5. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    Think of the muddy mess that will be made during the rainy season and getting the nesting boxes muddy. I have a concrete floor with straw over it in the winter. They free range most of the time and bring in mud but not as much . Cleaning is easier to do. Good luck.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't think that either way is superior to the other. They just have different tradeoffs:

    Quote:Actually that is one of the major *disadvantages* of a dirt floor -- only the moisture transfer is in the opposite direction you're thinking of [​IMG] Chickens are not like horses or other big livestock, they are not going to produce a river of pee that has to be absorbed; the moisture chickens put out is in the much 'gentler' form of a) humid exhaled air and b) slightly damp poo (birds do not urinate). None of these is going to absorb into the ground. But what you get, in non-arid climates, is ground moisture coming up thru the floor to humidify the bedding and coop air, in damper times of the year.

    give them something to scratch into, prevent slipping, make cleaning easier (you can always add a fresh dirt layer if needed)

    Chickens don't really need to scratch in the coop so much, as they can do that outdoors, and certainly they can scratch around in the coop bedding when they want to. Non-dirt floors needn't be slippery. And adding a fresh layer of dirt is not a simple operation, since if it is not seriously well tamped into the existing one the chickens will dig it all up and mix it into the bedding to make a big mess.

    The biggest advantage of a dirt floor: cheap and easy. The second biggest advantage: in many climates, at least in a good-sized coop, it will stabilize coop temperature somewhat, making it a little cooler on hot days and a little warmer in the winter (at least, the first 2/3 of the winter). This is not always true, but often.

    However, dirt floors have three big disadvantages: next to impossible to disinfect if you get something nasty in your flock; much more expensive and time-consuming to predatorproof than a raised floor; and unlike raised floors they can flood, sometimes badly.

    That's why I don't think one way is globally 'best' -- it depends on how important each of those tradeoffs is in your personal situation, which will differ from anyone else's personal situation.

    (A concrete slab, or even just big cement pavers on a very well-tamped gravel bed, is a nice compromise that gives you many of the good aspects of both; however it is not inexpensive, and has a few disadvantages of its own. There is no such thing as a free lunch [​IMG])


  7. MamaJohnson

    MamaJohnson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Ok... that makes sense. Sigh. Poor hubby. Guess I'll add a floor to the plans (and the budget!). I love a clean place though, and the coop is not going to be any different. We also have goats that sleep on straw covered pallets in their shed (dirt floor). I love the pallets - urine and most of the poop falls right through and collects beneath, keeping their actual sleeping area much cleaner. Then, quick lift the pallets, rake out the solids, fresh straw on the top and you're done. I was thinking the chickens might be the same, but maybe a floor will be easier to disinfect... And it will be warmer... Love this site! Thanks all!
  8. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    Be sure you look for vinyl remnants at the big box stores - Lowes tends to discount a bit better than HD.

  9. Debby10

    Debby10 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    Mt. Bethel
    Quote:I'm not much of an expert on chickens, but I do have horses and they have rubber mats over screenings (fine gravel) and it works great. The concrete is so hard that even the rubber mats don't soften the wear and tear on joints. Since it is more expensive, too, you like using screenings. I would guess that a dirt floor coop could be greatly improved with horse style rubber mats and then shavings on top of that.

  10. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    It makes it so easy to sweep and mop each week.

    Dirt doesn't mop up well. [​IMG]

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