Best bedding for wet muddy run

Hessk

Songster
Oct 6, 2018
89
124
111
South Georgia
The floor of my run is currently dirt mixed with straw that the chickens are always kicking out of the coop. We live in a humid climate that gets lots of rain. A majority of the year it is wet/ muddy and mixed with the poop it’s just terrible. I rake everything out twice a week (as long as the weather permits). I wanted to switch to sand but have heard mixed reviews. I’d also have to buy bagged sand from an home improvement store (no truck to buy bulk) and I don’t think places such as Home Depot sell the correct kind of sand for chickens. Any other ideas of what I could use?
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
Feb 2, 2009
24,129
12,142
707
Southeast Louisiana
Sand works well if water can drain away. If you put sand in a hole it usually doesn't work that well because the water has nowhere to go. That's a big part of why you get mixed reviews with sand. Like any tool if it is used correctly it usually works pretty well. If you don't use it right it may not work at all.

I don't know exactly what you are working with. If there is a low spot nearby a French drain may help a lot. Or can you fill the run with dirt until it is higher than the surrounding ground, then maybe cover with sand. You may need to put some kind of edging around the bottom inside of your run to contain the dirt/sand.

I don't know what kind of sand you think you need? I'd be OK with play sand or construction sand. Sand from a sandbar in a creek or river would be great. I'd be a little cautious about beach sand as it could contain a lot of salt, so rinse the salt out of it first.

I can appreciate the problem of hauling in bulk. If you get someone with a dump truck to haul something they are expensive and usually only handle huge amounts. It can be challenging to even find someone. If you have a vehicle that can tow, consider renting a UHaul trailer. The 5' x 9' ones have a solid bottom, you would need to line the bottom of a 5x8 with something to hold the sand.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
Nov 27, 2012
70,980
71,718
1,557
SW Michigan
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If you live in a humid place, I would not recommend sand.
Aged ramial wood chippings is the best run bedding, IMO,
unless your goal is to make garden soil.
That and some other dry plant material works great here,
I never 'clean' it and it 'digests' all the poops.


Fixing any drainage issues first is a must.
More info on(and pics of) your run and climate would really help.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
upload_2019-2-20_10-20-52.png
 

Hessk

Songster
Oct 6, 2018
89
124
111
South Georgia
I live in southern Georgia. There’s a lot of draining issues here because of all the clay in the ground. Everything kinda puddles and sits for weeks after a big rain. Luckily my coop/run are in a spot where that doesn’t happen. I’m just sick of a muddy floor in there. I will try the bark though. Thank you!
If you live in a humid place, I would not recommend sand.
Aged ramial wood chippings is the best run bedding, IMO,
unless your goal is to make garden soil.
That and some other dry plant material works great here,
I never 'clean' it and it 'digests' all the poops.


Fixing any drainage issues first is a must.
More info on(and pics of) your run and climate would really help.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, (laptop version shown), then it's always there!
View attachment 1679241
 

Henry&Friends

Songster
May 6, 2018
461
1,056
186
I had a similar issue, the water would puddle and sit in my basement coop. I dug a hole inside & outside a wall in the coop, stuck a PVC pipe in the hole, went outside and dug a trench leading away from the house, then did the same inside. It worked, but I’m not sure how effective it is long term.
 

sneakychicken

Chirping
8 Years
Jun 17, 2010
29
12
87
VA
Lots of great advice! Thank you. Home Depot does sell play sand however I’ve heard that because it’s so fine that it can cause issues with the chickens? Not sure if that’s true or not.
I believe the potential dust with some sand types is the problem. It can cause respiratory issues. I am a big fan of deep litter-in the coop and the run. Leaves, grass clippings, pine shavings all work great. I would have friends drop off their bagged leaves to me even. Of course in the coop the deep litter has to stay dry. HTH
 

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