Originally Posted by sab
For over 5 years now I have been using sand in my large uncovered run. I 'freshen' it up by adding a top layer about 2X a year. This last winter was so bad and there was so much snow and moisture... and so much sand.... Now I'm rethinking the whole sand thing. When I step out there, my foot goes down 2-3 inches it is so much like a sponge. What I'm going to have to do to remedy this is remove the fencing and with the snow shovel on the tractor, scrap it all out. When it rains, it doesn't dry out. It wasn't like this at 1st. Just seems the more I added the worse it got.
So what did I do wrong? Should I continue with sand again and expect to have to do this major shoveling again in a few years? I'm wondering what the run will be like if I just let it go natural dirt.... Nasty? The run is large with 28 hens and 3 ducks. They are allowed to free range when I am home but are in the run more often than not. We are in the city limits and I have to have control of girls. But this is getting overwhelming. Really thought the sand was the way to go....
Any thoughts are appreciated.
Could be a few things and your system doesn't necessarily need to be scrapped... just reworked.
If the sand is acting like a sponge then it is obvious water is collecting and not going anywhere. Water still needs a place to run off too. The type of sand you are using could be having an effect as well. The sand should be course construction sand to allow water to permeate through more easily then say play sand.
The following are mere suggestions that you can use or improve upon depending on your situation:
Possible option 1: Remove current sand. Place french drainage pipe so water can collect in them and be gravity directed out of the coop. On top of the pipe place a layer of small gravel. Then put course sand on top and in the run.
Possible option 2: Remove current sand. Dig several large holes in coop. Fill with rocks and gravel. This will provide a place for water to run down to and seep into the ground surrounding the holes. Then put course sand on top and in the run.
Possible option 3. Now that you understand that you need to direct water away from the run by the two option ideas above you can devise your own method to better suit your situation.
I hope I understood your question correctly and gave you some ideas to consider.
Edited by Free Spirit - 12/13/15 at 8:25am