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Bare dirt floor of uncovered run - what do you suggest?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have a coop that has a bare dirt floor run.  There is no cover to the run except for the wire on the top.  At most I have 4 chickens in the area, and its a large area for that number of hens.  There is a small sand box with a roof in the run.  I want to put something down on the ground to make the space nicer for the ladies.  I think sand would wash away, and they've already got sand in the area.  What has worked best for you?  I wish I could get some grass in there, but they won't let that happen.  I'm in Georgia if it matters.  Thanks a bunch!

 

Annie

post #2 of 18

Can you lay 1x boards on their skinny side on the ground to build an interior retaining wall to keep the sand inside the run? 

 

I have dirt (mud!) now, but am planning on sand when the budget allows.  To be honest, I don't think they give a hoot about the substrate.  It's ME that hates having to tromp through the slop and slip-n-slide in the muck.  

post #3 of 18

could you divide your run in half? you could start a hardy ground cover and when established move chickens to that side then establish the other side. then rotate them give each half a break?  Just a thought. I know I will have to do something as well to mine. 

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure I can grow anything there.  The coop is beside a barn in the woods.  There is no grass in the area, just fallen leaves and general forest floor.  They don't seem unhappy with the situation, but they might like something more to kick and scratch around.  Maybe something that some tasty bugs might like to hide in for them to find.  The ground is really hard so there isn't much slipping and sliding.  Right now there are only 2 hens so they don't make much of a mess.  I just want them to be happy.  I had some hay on the ground, but one of my hens (now dead) started eating the hay and got an impacted crop twice.  So I took everything out aside from the pine chips that are under the roost. 

 

A retaining wall is a good idea but wouldn't help my situation too much.  The ground is a slight hill so I don't think sand would stay in after a heavy rain.  Any other ideas? 

post #5 of 18

Fallen leaves sound great. If you have more throw them in. they'll encourage bugs, be pleasant underfoot and rot down into a lovely compost.

3 labradors, 2 cats, 22 fish tanks and 21 chickens of various breeds in one fixed hen house and two tractors.
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3 labradors, 2 cats, 22 fish tanks and 21 chickens of various breeds in one fixed hen house and two tractors.
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post #6 of 18

My run is just like yours. Hubby thinks its funny but I have an old piece of plywood throw on the dirt. Every few weeks I move it and the chickens go crazy cause what I uncover is all kinds of worms and bugs for them to enjoy.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

I do like to put some logs in there and tip them over every so often.  The girls get really excited about what ever is crawling around.  They also love to chase and catch the wasps. 

post #8 of 18

I just finished the coop I started over the weekend and we just tossed a thin layer of sand over the whole run. If you are wanting something to scratch around in without using sand, maybe try mulch? Bugs & worms like mulch & the chickens can scratch thru it easily.

 

Just make sure it's the UNCOLORED natural mulch. The dyes & stuff they put in the red or black or other colors might make a chicken sick...not sure, but wouldn't want to chance it.


Edited by Nsampsel - 3/29/12 at 11:27pm
post #9 of 18

It seems that anything they can scratch and poke around in would work and be 'entertaining'.  I have seen people putting sheets of sod in their runs, but sod not at all expensive here. I would wonder about the chemicals uses to make it so green and weed free but I might try shallow hunks of unwanted grass from around our yard.

 

Mud would drive me nuts.


Edited by aggiemae - 3/30/12 at 1:06am
post #10 of 18

Just thinking out loud here....smile.png.......How big is your run?    

 

You said it is next to the barn......so........... you are out in the country?    

 

would you be able to find field stones?

 

You could line the lower edge with field stones then level out the run a bit?

 

 or........ the stones would keep what ever you put in the run....... in the run.

 

Then plant shade tolerant plants chickens would like from your local garden center......maybe?

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