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Best run "flooring" for New England.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I know this has been covered extensively on BYC but I was hoping someone from my neck of the woods could comment.

 

Background: I live in Northeastern CT. I've had 10 chickens for almost 6 months. They have a raised 8x6 coop using the deep litter method with pine shavings. The run is covered, secure with hardware cloth, and measure 14x16. It gets morning sun and remains dry during rain with the exception of a few inches of moisture along the edges but no puddling.  Over the past 6 months the chickens have scratched all the native dirt away to the point where they are now working their way beneath the run perimeter. They have probably scratched away 4+" of dirt. My chickens do not free range since rad-tail and cooper's hawks constantly circle my property.

 

Question: I need to replace the missing dirt. I was thinking about sand but I've read so many conflicting reports. Would I be better off with plain topsoil or are there other suggestions out there.

Thanks!


Edited by Hickorychickens - 10/20/15 at 6:29am
post #2 of 7

The holes they've dug are probably for dustbathing. You can replace with soil or you can give them stuff to dust bathe in. I'm thinking sand, wood ashes and ag lime.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply but it's not just holes, the entire base of the 14x16 run is 4+" deeper than when I built it, if you were to look at it today you would think I built the run over a crater.

post #4 of 7

I understand. They scratch some out of the run and the rest of the depression is compacted from them walking on it all day.

Unless you go to a concrete, it will continue so just be prepared to add something every year.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #5 of 7
Mine do that, trying to dig under the wood for bugs. Finally had to set a row of bricks along there to keep the dirt in the planter on the other side!
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke
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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke
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post #6 of 7
I'm in Massachusetts with a setup very similar to yours. My girls go to town along the edge of the run and have excavated the ground to below grade. All the soil they've scratched away is now incorporated into the litter. They scratch the most there because that's where the composting happens due to the rain that comes in.

I fill spots in with dirt if they get particularly deep, but what made the biggest impact was when I started wetting the run and adding more grass clippings and "green" material. My litter was TOO dry and sterile so the birds had no choice but to dig all the way to the soil in order to find any thing of value to dig in. Now that their litter is more like a compost pile with lots of texture, varied material, humus and moisture the birds are more interested in the top layers of the litter. I still have to fill in an occasional hole along the edge but on the whole they do far less crater digging.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice. I spread about 2 yards of topsoil in the run then covered that with about 40 gallons of freshly mulched leaves and grass.  Chickens look like they are in heaven at the moment.

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