Adding dirt to my run...Good? Bad?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Faso, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Faso

    Faso Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 17, 2012
    Pompton Lakes, NJ
    Hi all!

    So, my run used to be grass...Now, as you csan imagine, the grass is totally gone and it's just hard dirt. I was wondering if anyone adds dirt(top soil maybe?) to the run and if so, how often? I was thinking maybe 6 inches as it would pack down to 3...

    What are your thoughts? Or, should i be adding a layer of something else?

  2. Campesina

    Campesina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2011
    Sand would be better and easier to clean.
    I have heard "playground" sand is best.
    Then you can sift out the poo with a poop scooper or a special rake.
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    If you have access to leaves or pine needles you can dump that in your run. Hens love scratching around in it and the leaves will break down quickly and make a nice barrier between the dirt and their feet.

    Alternatively, you can buy hay, alfalfa or rice hulls if you can find them. I've even dumped a whole bag of pine shavings in my run before.
  4. abbaschickens

    abbaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    Cedar Park, TX
    I use peat moss. It is soft. The hens love to dust in it. Areas with droppings will compost if you put some more peat on top of it.
  5. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    Chickens love the dirt to dust themselves and scratch around in but it's...well, dirty. I have dirt in my run, we dump grass clipping and leaf litter into it and the chickens spread it around nicely. Sand would be good if you are looking to deal with rainwater (soil tends to retain water quite well), but the chickies will have more fun with dirt and leaf litter.
    Hope this helps!
  6. blueberrychickens

    blueberrychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2010
    Hudson, MA
    We did add dirt to our run in 2011, I wish we did sand instead. The girls do love to dig holes & dust bathe in it but the sand would have drained better in my opinion. If we ever add to it again, it will be sand. I wonder tho, where does all that dirt disappear too??
  7. blackgum

    blackgum Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2012
    in the woods
    sand is the best less sickness with birds and they get to dust
  8. Hippie Chicks Mom

    Hippie Chicks Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Near Old Forge NY
    I'll have to try sand this spring! Sounds great and...we a have a "sand pit"! Doesn't everyone? :). It was used for my husband's construction company. LOTS of sand left. I find that the girls tend to dig holes in the run where they dirt bathe, which I have to fill in to keep the predator fence buried. Sand it is!

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