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Floor of outdoor chicken run

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

What should I use on the floor of my chickens outdoor chicken run. It was just the dirt I built it the 9X6 run on but, YUCK what a mess after 5 months!

My husband laid down tones of straw and boy oh boy, I won that arguement fast! That is great indoors but INSAINE outside. After 3 weeks I had the heaviest poop sponge and flies in numbers you don't even what to know about. It took me several weekends to scoop out layer after layer of the wet muck!

Fora while I raked leaves into the chicken run and then pulled them out every few weeks but it was a disaster and so much work.

A month ago I laid down some pea gravel in 2 square feet of it but that was just caked in poor and mud in 2 days. I tried laying down pavinf stones over 1/3 of the run to test how that would work and but a wek later I just slipped all over the poop and hosing it off just left piles of poo along the eges and the chickens dug in  it anyway. I tried laying some brick dawn last week but now all the poop is still there was something to grab onto. AND when I try to hose it off, the poop now fights back and splatters on me!

I have 7 hens and 2 roosters, 3 of the chickens are bantams. They have a good size shed/coop whose chicken door opens into a large chainlink dog with chicken wire on top. I have square foot cement pavers all along the edge which the chain link sits on so there is no one is sneaking on or out. The chickens are closed in the coop at night, let out into the run durring the day and they get 1-4 supervised hours to free roam the yard and woods.

I'd rather not pour cement because 1. that's too perminant and ugly, 2. it'll get hot on the portion that's in the sun, 3. I worry that it would be harmful to their feet in some way. Most animals feet suffer healthissues from being forced to spend their lives on cement .

I'd get thons on wood chips but I worry the cost and the constant churning and replacing wouldn't be worth it and the moisture would be unreal.


Any ideas anyone?

post #2 of 53
Thread Starter 

http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk192/IWorkTooHard/Chickens/DSC00080.jpg  http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk192/IWorkTooHard/Chickens/DSC00055.jpg

post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 

These are picks of my coop taken this spring right after and finished getting 5 inches of solid wet straw out. The temp. coop was in the chicken run, the new one is in the far back, the siding still isn't all up yet.

post #4 of 53

From the look and sounds of things, I'd try and come up with a way to partially add a solid-type cover to part of your coop/run set-up.

It seems that the North has been getting the Souths' typical spring weather (from a transplant from NJ). It's still offically Spring here in TN and we are hearing that nasty "drought" word again...temps have been averaging 10 - 15 degrees F above May's normals for the year, yet again! th

I use food grade diatomaceous earth, to help dry out the chicken and rabbit poop, which helps keep the flies at bay and the smell at next to nothing. I also try and sweep out the dried pooh from the run atleast weekly (using an old, wore out broom). To me, it's not "more work"...it's valuable time spent with my birds. I realize not everyone can do this, though.

Exactly how big is your run (dimensions as in height/width/length)?


Dawn

Happily homesteading in Sharp County Arkansas
...I heard them bikers talkin' 'bout ridin' Hawgs and checkin' out Chicks...
Food Grade DE
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Happily homesteading in Sharp County Arkansas
...I heard them bikers talkin' 'bout ridin' Hawgs and checkin' out Chicks...
Food Grade DE
Reply
post #5 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawn419 

From the look and sounds of things, I'd try and come up with a way to partially add a solid-type cover to part of your coop/run set-up.

It seems that the North has been getting the Souths' typical spring weather (from a transplant from NJ). It's still offically Spring here in TN and we are hearing that nasty "drought" word again...temps have been averaging 10 - 15 degrees F above May's normals for the year, yet again! th

I use food grade diatomaceous earth, to help dry out the chicken and rabbit poop, which helps keep the flies at bay and the smell at next to nothing. I also try and sweep out the dried pooh from the run atleast weekly (using an old, wore out broom). To me, it's not "more work"...it's valuable time spent with my birds. I realize not everyone can do this, though.

Exactly how big is your run (dimensions as in height/width/length)?


Dawn


Dawn, I just now clicked to your website and bookmarked it. 
What a wealth of great information that I can use.  THANKS!

Breathes there a woman with soul so dead who never once looked up and said,
"Gee, what can I do for Joe Bryant today."

The best laid plans of mice and men go oft' awry.
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Breathes there a woman with soul so dead who never once looked up and said,
"Gee, what can I do for Joe Bryant today."

The best laid plans of mice and men go oft' awry.
Reply
post #6 of 53

The dampness is without a doubt your biggest problem. As mentioned, I would put a roof over your run if it is at all possible for you to do so. I have a clear plastic roof over my run and it has kept it in great shape, all through the inclement weather. As a mater of fact it has stayed so dry that dust is my biggest problem. The birds love it for dust baths.

I have a dirt floor, which I rake every morning before letting the birds out. This fills in the holes they have dug, and mixes in the poop so it drys. I add chips, and DE to it every few weeks to absorb urine. As well every day or so, I am throwing in a 5 gallon bucket of weeds that still has the dirt attached to the roots, so this adds clean soil. Every few days I rake up any of the uneaten leaves, and weed roots, plus some of the dirt, and put it in a bucket for the compost pile.

I have had 6 ISA Browns in it since February, and it is odor free, and the birds seem very healthy, and happy. Build a roof!smile

post #7 of 53

If you want the run to stay dry, you will need to build a roof over it. If you are looking for a "bedding" material to put in the run. I like to use pine straw. It stays light and fluffy. And when the chickens scratch in it, the pine straw breaks down into a nice topsoil. So that way you don't have to shovel it out all the time. If you can't find DE, hydrated lime is another safe and good choice to hold down smell. Make sure you get powder and not the granular.


If the coop is staying "wet and muddy" you might want to go get some bags of play sand to mix in with the existing soil. This will help it drain. My coop is on a slope so I don't have to worry about water pooling or staying in the coop for a long time since it will just flow down the  hill.

Mowing a 20 acre field with a 5' Bush Hog gives you lots of time to think about things.
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Mowing a 20 acre field with a 5' Bush Hog gives you lots of time to think about things.
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post #8 of 53

Dawn

Thanks for posting about the food grade DE, can I buy this at a feed store?

We have 6 almost 3 weeks old.  They are still in their brooder and I have work to finish on their coop/run.  It has not been in use in 3 years and we got it from our neighbor.  I have design pictures of what it will look like on my blog  http://misshelaineous.blogspot.com
Right now it has a flat roof in the coop area which we will make a slanted roof and we will add plywood on top of the run.  It has wired that goes under the dirt to  keep out the critters I hope.

I am thinking of adding ducks as well to keep back the critters as I have heard from a few friends that they will do that pretty good.

Helaine

Helaine in Olalla,Wa             

1 silkie, 4 white rock/buff orpington, 1 jersey giant, 5 RIR, 2 cochens,1 american chinchilla,  2 creme d argent, 2 white beveren's and 2 white mini satin rabbits.   
5 cute grandkids !
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Helaine in Olalla,Wa             

1 silkie, 4 white rock/buff orpington, 1 jersey giant, 5 RIR, 2 cochens,1 american chinchilla,  2 creme d argent, 2 white beveren's and 2 white mini satin rabbits.   
5 cute grandkids !
Reply
post #9 of 53

You might try adding sand, along with the DE.

Our run is just plain dirt, too, and when it gets wet and mucky, a layer of play sand really helps get things dry.

Steward of one old farmhouse, two dogs, two cats, 16 hens, an accidental rooster, two ducks, two horses and a pony.  Life is so very good . . .
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Steward of one old farmhouse, two dogs, two cats, 16 hens, an accidental rooster, two ducks, two horses and a pony.  Life is so very good . . .
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post #10 of 53

Thanks I think I read that some where too.

Helaine in Olalla,Wa             

1 silkie, 4 white rock/buff orpington, 1 jersey giant, 5 RIR, 2 cochens,1 american chinchilla,  2 creme d argent, 2 white beveren's and 2 white mini satin rabbits.   
5 cute grandkids !
Reply
Helaine in Olalla,Wa             

1 silkie, 4 white rock/buff orpington, 1 jersey giant, 5 RIR, 2 cochens,1 american chinchilla,  2 creme d argent, 2 white beveren's and 2 white mini satin rabbits.   
5 cute grandkids !
Reply
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