I'm designing a coop adjacent to some paddock areas for 6-8 chickens or so. In the interest of hygiene and maintenance, I like the idea of a mesh bottom, but haven't found any examples online of people making that work -- almost all coops seem to have a wood bottom, which of course means the need to scrape poop on a regular basis. The climate is mild out here in NorCal, so temperature shouldn't be that much of an issue. Would be easy enough to have a slot under the floor for slipping in plywood in a pinch.
Presuming predators can be kept out from under the coop with some other fencing, are there any other reasons why a mesh bottom (say, 1/4" heavy galvanized screen) wouldn't work well? Any indications that walking on such a surface is bad for the birds?
I tried a tractor with a floor made of 1/2" pvc coated hardware cloth and it never really worked out. The poop had a hard time falling through and I would still have huge piles under the roosts that I needed to either scrape out or squish through. Also, when I added some hens to the flock, I couldn't get them to walk on the mesh. I ended up abandoning the whole idea of a tractor and built a coop and run. The coop floor is dirt with deep bedding. The top 4 feet of the coop, where the roosts are, is enclosed in plywood, but the bottom 18" is hardware cloth to allow for airflow around the bedding. That set up has worked out great.
I think where the floor is like a series of roosts, raised off the ground so poop can freely fall through. With this setup you can add solid sides to prevent predators entry rather than count on the floor.
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