Choosing the Best Material for Chicken Coop

Joseph Truini

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Joseph Truini

Published on ; Last updated on ;

Are you planning to build a new home for your chickens? The material you use is critical in ensuring your coop’s structural integrity and your birds’ health. Choosing a suitable coop material can also make a difference in the overall design of your coop. 

So, how do you choose the best material for a chicken coop?

There are several factors to consider when choosing material for your chicken coop. To help ensure you build your birds a secure and durable home, this post will cover the factors to consider when picking coop material, the various materials you can choose from, and their pros and cons.

What is the best material for a chicken coop?

When building a chicken coop, no single material is considered the best for every situation and climate. The best material for you depends on your needs, your area’s climate, budget, predator threats, and preferences. If you’re an aspiring chicken grower planning to build your first chicken house, you can talk with experienced chicken keepers in your locality to get insights into how you can build a lasting, predator-proof chicken coop. 

Here are the various materials you can use to build a chicken coop:

1. Wood

Lumber is undoubtedly the most common material for building chicken coops, and there are many options from which you can choose. Many chicken keepers go for pine, spruce, and hemlock because they are readily available, offer fantastic versatility, and are easy to work with. The biggest downside is that coops built using softwoods don’t last as long unless treated. However, when sealed or pressure-treated, softwoods become relatively maintenance-free and provide some rot-resistant properties, which can extend the lifespan of your coop.

If you want a lasting wooden chicken coop, tropical hardwoods like cedar and redwood are the way to go. Although pricey, they are naturally rot-resistant and pest-resistant. 

Pros of wood

  • Wood is affordable 
  • There is a variety to fit any budget
  • Readily available and easy to work with
  • Hardwood options are naturally rot-resistant, and softwood can be treated to resist pests and rot.

Cons of using wood

  • Softwood coops can easily harbor lice and mites and can be challenging to clean
  • Most wood is prone to water damage

2. Metal for chicken coops

It is not uncommon to find chicken coops made of corrugated steel and galvanized aluminum. These coops are a lasting solution and protect against predators and other threats. However, because they are heavy, they are not suitable for chicken tractors and other movable coops. 

Pros of galvanized metal

  • Incredibly durable and weather-resistant
  • Easy to clean and maintain 
  • Provides excellent protection against predators

Cons of galvanized metal

  • Metal chicken coops often require special tools to construct
  • The coop can get extremely hot during summer and very cold in winter
  • Metal coops can be very expensive to build

3. Plastic

Although probably not the most suitable material for building chicken coops, plastic is lightweight and easy to clean and work with. Even if you are a beginner chicken grower with meager skills, these attributes give you ample freedom to design your dream chicken coop. 

Pros of plastic

  • Lightweight and suitable for portable chicken coops
  • Water-resistant and rot-resistant
  • Easy to maintain

Cons of plastic

  • Plastic chicken coops can become very hot during sunny weather

4. Recyclable materials/ Eco materials

Chicken growers are great improvisers and often use functional materials when building. Recyclable materials like pallets, old deck lumber, and leftover pieces of plywood offer an easy and inexpensive way to build a chicken coop. You need to be creative.

Most recyclable materials are eco-friendly, very cheap, and readily available. However, most of them need to be treated and cleaned to make them safe for your chicken. 

Regarding roofing, you can use scraps of metal you recycled to make shingles. Some chicken growers even use salvaged parts from old cars to build a home for their flock. Whatever you use, building a chicken coop using recyclable materials can significantly cut costs, and you get a one-of-a-kind chicken coop.


Best Flooring Materials For Chicken Coop

Your chicken coop floor plays a vital role in the daily care and the overall health of your flock. Choosing the best flooring material helps keep your chickens happy, healthy, and comfortable while ensuring your sanity. After all, you are the one to clean and maintain the coop.

Some flooring materials are good at keeping predators away, others are easy to clean, and others are easy to build or install. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks. If you are building your chickens a new home, here are some of the chicken coop flooring materials you can use:

  1. Concrete Floor

Concrete is the best flooring material for a chicken coop, especially if you’re building a permanent structure. It provides a solid platform that is predator-proof, easy to clean, and doesn’t harbor mites and lice. Moreover, it is easy to maintain, can take plenty of abuse, and won’t rot like wood floors.

Another nice thing about a concrete floor is that it remains cool in warm months. However, it can be too cold for your chickens in the winter. Plenty of soft bedding in the winter can help ensure your chicken remains comfortable and warm.

When installing a concrete floor, it is recommended to slightly slope your floor so that it drains without fuss when you hose it off or spray it with a pressure washer. A sloped concrete floor also makes regular cleaning a breeze.

  1. Wooden Boards Floor

Wood is the most common building material for chicken coops. Many chicken growers love it because it is easy to work with. Solid wooden floors can last several years with proper maintenance. Generally, cleaner and drier wooden floors will last longer.

The biggest downside of wooden chicken coop floors is that they are hard to clean. Droppings and bedding can get stuck between and under the boards. If the spaces between boards are too wide, rodents and predators like snakes can crawl into the coop, harming or killing your chickens.

All in all, wooden flooring can last for years without problems if you stay on top of maintenance practices and use a thick layer of bedding.

  1. Plywood Flooring

Plywood sheets offer an easy way to create a smooth, gap-free chicken coop floor. When properly installed, plywood flooring provides good support and won’t hurt your chickens’ feet. It can last for several years with proper maintenance, as long as it is not sitting on constantly wet ground.

  1. Wire For Chicken Coop Floor

Coop cleanliness and safety are of utmost priority when raising chickens. Many people use hardware cloth or welded wire as flooring so that the droppings can fall through the wire onto the ground. In theory, this creates a sanitary chicken coop.

The biggest problem with wire flooring is that it doesn’t insulate your chickens against inclement weather. An elevated chicken coop with wire flooring can be too drafty in cold weather, making your birds susceptible to illnesses and premature death. For this reason, unless it is well-insulated and the chickens have access to warm water, wire flooring is strongly discouraged, especially in regions that can get cold.

  1. Plastic Chicken Coop Floor

Plastic is an affordable, easy-to-clean, and hygienic material for building chicken coop floors best suited for smaller coops. However, they are best used with a thick layer of bedding.

Chicken Coop Floor Liner And Bedding Materials

Liners are usually used to seal gaps in coop floors. The most commonly used liners include:

  • Rubber mats: Rubber mats can be paired with any flooring, except wire, to add padding to the floor, protect against moisture, and ease cleaning. Protection against moisture prevents rotting, which can help lengthen the lifespan of wooden flooring.
  • Linoleum: Linoleum and vinyl offer an easy way to cover or fill in gaps on chicken coop floors. The downside is they are slippery, which can cause chickens to injure themselves seriously when used alone.
  • Paint: Paint is applied to wooden flooring to smooth it and protect against wood rot.

You may not need any liners if you use a thick bedding layer. There are many types of chicken coop bedding that you can use. The most common bedding materials include:

  • Wood chips
  • Sand
  • Hemp
  • Pine shavings
  • Straw and hay
  • Cedar shavings
  • Grass clippings
  • Shredded paper

Coop bedding material helps manage droppings while providing soft and insulating flooring. Wood shavings offer soft padding for eggs and smell woodsy with proper maintenance. However, your ultimate choice will depend on your budget, litter availability, local weather, and how much time you have to maintain the coop.

Factors to consider when choosing chicken coop material

Choosing the best material for your chicken coop is critical, as the material you choose will impact the overall functionality, durability, and predator deterrence. Whether you are an aspiring chicken grower or a seasoned pro, here are things to remember when choosing the material to build your chicken coop. 

1. Durability

Chickens are curious creatures bound to scratch and peck to stay active and keep themselves happy. The best material for a chicken coop should withstand these activities; otherwise, you may have to build a new coop every few years. Ideally, you want to evaluate the strength, resistance to impact, and ability to withstand inclement weather of different materials. 

Redwood, cedar, galvanized aluminum, fiberglass, and certain types of PVC are some of the best framing and exterior materials you can consider. They are durable and have rot- and pest-resistant properties. 

2. Weather resistance

When building a chicken house, it is imperative to consider weather-resistant framing and exterior materials, especially if you live in a region that experiences extreme temperature swings. At around $7 – $10 per board foot, pressure-treated lumber is an affordable framing material with weather-resistant properties, making it an ideal framing material for those on a budget. On the other hand, Cedar and Redwood naturally withstand moisture and resist but are pricier, costing more than $10 per board foot.

Regarding covering the walls and roofing your chicken coop, metal, plastic, PVC, and fiberglass are ideal options, and all are designed to be weather-resistant. What is best for you will depend on your area’s specific climate and weather conditions.

No matter the climate in your area, you want to pick materials that can withstand rain, winds, and sunlight to keep the coop habitable. Further, depending on where you live, you may consider materials with good insulation and thermal regulation properties to keep the coop warm in cold and comfortable in warm months. Although relatively expensive at $0.30 to $0.70 per square foot,  fiberglass can provide much-needed insulation during cold winter.

3. Ventilation

Chicken coops must be adequately ventilated to prevent moisture and ammonia buildup. This is vitally important, considering that moisture accumulation can lead to mold, mildew, and poor air quality, while ammonia buildup is known to cause respiratory issues in chickens.

When choosing the materials for your chicken coop, go for options that allow for proper ventilation without compromising the structural integrity and safety of the coop. Hardware cloth offers an easy way to build a ventilated coop and is sturdy enough to keep predators away. Interestingly, you can get a roll of hardware cloth starting from $55. 

For the roosting area, you can incorporate windows and vents into the design to promote airflow naturally. However, it would be best to be careful with the size of windows and vents, as large openings can expose your chickens to excessive wind and cold and create drafts. Importantly, remember to cover all vents and windows of your chicken coop with hardware cloth to deter predators and rodents.

4. Predator deterrence

Chickens and their eggs are easy prey for several predators; no matter where you live, there will be predators. As such, it is imperative to build a predator-proof chicken coop. Building a sturdy coop is one of the easiest ways to protect your beloved birds against predators. 

Besides adopting a predator-proof design, build your coop with materials that can’t be easily broken into. This is especially true if you live in a region with sly predators like coyotes. For the unacquainted, hardware cloth offers excellent protection over the chicken wire because it is woven to be stronger and more durable. Metal and solid wood are also robust enough to deter predators like raccoons and foxes, which can exert force while attempting to break into a coop. 

Whatever material you use to build your chicken coop, consider fencing your coop to create a barrier. Here are tips to predator-proof your chicken coop:

  • Bury the hardware cloth about 12 inches
  • Elevate your chicken coop
  • Roof your coop with predator-proof materials like corrugated panels
  • Reinforce coop door and windows
  • Trim  shrubs around your chicken coop to get rid of spots where predators can hide

5. Maintenance

Chicken coops require regular maintenance, necessitating the need to consider the maintenance requirements of the materials you use to build your chicken coop. Some materials are low-maintenance, while others require regular cleaning, sealing, or painting to maintain integrity. Do you have the time, and are you willing to commit to the maintenance practices? 

Regular cleaning is critical to keeping your chicken coop healthy and hygienic, and the best material for a chicken coop should be easy to clean and disinfect. Regarding protection, while the best material should be naturally weather-resistant and durable, if you choose a material that requires sealing and proofing, consider the frequency and effort needed to apply the sealants, paint, and coatings. If your area sees frigid winters, consider seasonal maintenance requirements like winterizing your coop when choosing the material to build your coop with. 

Yet another consideration is the ease of repairing your coop or replacing parts that wear, tear, or suffer accidental damage. Apparently, wood and PVC coops are easier to repair and do not require specialized skills or tools. On the other hand, metal chicken coops may require welding or specialized repair techniques.

6. Cost and availability

When choosing the material for your chicken coop, consider your budget and the long-term value of the material you want to buy. If the material is not readily available locally, you may have to deal with shipping costs, which can quickly add to your budget. 

Here are the different materials you can use to build a chicken coop and their  average costs: 

  • Wood: The prices of wood can vary wildly depending on type and quality. Softwood is readily available and costs $1 to $3 per linear foot; plywood costs about $10 to $30 per sheet, while hardwood retails at around $10 to $20 or more per linear foot.
  • Metal: Ideal for roofing and side paneling, galvanized steel costs $15 – $20 per sheet, while welding can cost you $1 to $3 per linear foot. While the initial cost of building a chicken coop can be expensive, you will get a durable one. 
  • Plastic: Plastic boards vary wildly, but depending on the quality and type, you may pay $15 – $30 or more per sheet of high-density polyethylene. 

Choosing locally available materials can save you time, money, and logistical issues, but you must pay special attention to the quality to build a lasting coop. Thankfully, you will likely find a variety in your local supplies store.

7. Ease of construction

If you plan to build your chicken coop yourself, it is imperative to consider the ease of working with individual materials before deciding. Ideally, you want to choose materials that are fit for your expertise and the tools you have. Many people use lumber and plywood because they are easy to work with and require essential tools. 

Whatever material you choose, it should withstand the elements, deter predators, and provide a healthy space that your chickens can call home. Moreover, remember that proper construction and regular maintenance are critical to the durability of your coop. As such, building your coop sturdily and keeping up with maintenance practices can help extend its lifespan while ensuring it provides a happy, healthy, and comfortable home to your feathered friends.


Choosing a suitable material when building your chicken coop can ensure your coop is secure and comfortable for your birds. Even better, you can combine different materials to tap into their benefits. If you are building your first coop, remember that many things affect the cost of building a coop, and you must pay attention to each so you don’t compromise the safety and health of your chickens.

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