Best bedding if any for run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CBell7312000, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. CBell7312000

    CBell7312000 In the Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2018
    So I have lemon cuckoo Orpingtons. We had planned for them to be free range but unfortunately lost most of our flock. We are building a new 150 sq ft run for them to have. I’d like to keep about 10-12 hens and 1 rooster in this run. Our current small run and coop has construction sand but I put that in there when they were free ranging and they were just in there in the evening and on bad weather days. Do I just leave the grass in the new run?? Or do I need to go ahead and put more sand down? Their diet is a work in progress but we will be feeding them mealworms and wheat grass soon along with other items that are just thrown down on the ground. We also cover our entire runs (currently) with hardware cloth. My main concern is I don’t want to be weed eating or mowing inside a run but since it has the wire in the bottom, I don’t want them walking directly on that either.

    If we just put a perimeter of the hardware cloth around the run (which I’m honestly reluctant to do because of predators in our area), would it be easier to just leave the ground and grass inside the run. Our coop will be raised inside the run and grass would grow underneath making it difficult to keep cut. Thanks!
     
    BuffNewbie and Cheers2Ya like this.
  2. Chickens rule 33

    Chickens rule 33 Chirping

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    We use wood chipping inside the coop
    And leave the run with just grass as they love to peck about in the grass
     
    sylviethecochin likes this.
  3. Cheers2Ya

    Cheers2Ya Songster

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    I designed my run to specifically be able to keep grass in it at all times. I made it into two paddocks so I could close one off if needed, for grass recovery. The chickens LOVE the grass, weeds, dandelions, and bugs. However, at this time my chickens all free range entirely, unless there is a need to lock them in the run. Keep the grass if you can! No weed eating in the coup needed!

    Edited to say, please reconsider covering the ground with hardware clot. That will likely lead to injuries and missing nails. Also, they won't be able to forage for bugs as easily. A perimeter of hardware cloth is great though. And, once stapled down flat to the ground, the grass will grow right through it allowing a lawn mover to go over without a problem. You won't even be able to see it, as it becomes part of the ground!
     
    sylviethecochin and CBell7312000 like this.
  4. Hopperkiller

    Hopperkiller Songster

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    You most probably wont have to weedeat. They will do that for you if confined. 6 chickens in my 100 square foot run keep the ground bare. Putting the hardware cloth on perimeter will work well especially if attached to bottom of run. I did that with 4 foot welded wire fencing to keep the coyotes out. Animals will usually dig close to the fenced area. Thats why i secure the heck out of it to the run.
     
    Farmer Connie likes this.
  5. BuffNewbie

    BuffNewbie In the Brooder

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    So I'm really new... Did you say you're putting chicken wire on the bottom of the run? Do predators did under a run to get to chickens? We have coyotes, bobcats, snakes, Hawks and owls that I'm aware of. Should I consider this step in my run?
     
  6. Hopperkiller

    Hopperkiller Songster

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    On the outside perimeter is how mine is done. Caught a coyote at noon trying to dig under. I dont want mesh in my run so the chickens can dig and do their thing. But depending on where you live their are a lot of predators who will dig. We have a few badgers now and then in my area and my setup may or may not stop them but coyotes, coons, and bobcats, and possibly ringtailed cats will be stopped.
     
    BuffNewbie likes this.
  7. CBell7312000

    CBell7312000 In the Brooder

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    We put hardware cloth on the bottom of our current run and coop (this one was built specifically for chicks to be raised in) and covered it in the construction sand. You can’t see the hardware at all currently and we have a heap of it just outside the coop so if we notice it’s getting thin, we shovel more in. Yes, predators can dig under the coop. We live in the country and have quite the forest not far from our chickens. We also have neighbor dogs that can dig. We may try the perimeter of the new run instead of covering the entire floor of the run with it. It’s a huge expense for a large run that I’d love to save. Nothing can get in our current run or coop. But if a raccoon can dig under a coop, how does the perimeter being covered really help?

    We could use fence stakes I guess. We use those on our pot belly pig fence and our dog fences to keep everyone in, safe and other animals out. Between the perimeter being covered with the hardwire cloth and the fence stakes, that might work and I could just leave the regular grass and dirt inside the coop.
     
  8. Chad Oftedal

    Chad Oftedal Songster

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    My Coop
    So the hardware cloth is laid at the base of the run on the ground, and stretches out for 18-24", whatever you prefer. This is done around the perimeter of the run. Now, a predator comes right up to the fence of the run, and attempts to dig under. They hit the hardware cloth and can't dig down to get under the fence. They don't know that they need to back up 18-24" to get away from the hardware cloth before they start digging. Even if they did, it substantially more digging for them. I haven't read stories here where the predators have figured this out. So, that's the logic for laying an "apron" of hardware cloth around the perimeter.
     
  9. CBell7312000

    CBell7312000 In the Brooder

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    Do I need larger run?? I want them to have plenty of space. I won’t have more than 12 grown hens, 1 rooster and then during the summer I’ll have some chicks in there sometimes (but not long)
     
  10. CBell7312000

    CBell7312000 In the Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2018
    Perfect!! Thank you!! It really would be so much easier and cost effective to not have the wire covering the entire flooring of the new run.
     

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