1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

can I use landscape material under sand for run or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chicks4MyFamily, May 17, 2011.

  1. Chicks4MyFamily

    Chicks4MyFamily Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Valley City, OH
    I am planning to use sand for underneath my coop (raised coop) and run. We live in Ohio and my yard is a swampy mess right now. I am planning on rolling the area flat (with roller that goes behind tractor) and then I was thinking of laying down landscape fabric before I put the sand down. The reason I am thinking of this is that I want to surround the outside of coop/run with about six-eight inches wide of gravel to prevent digging predators and for looks and I was planning on putting fabric under the gravel to prevent weeds.

    My concern with several inches of sand will my hens dig down to the fabric and pull it up? Will it create a smell problem?

    Any advice appreciated!

  2. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    They will scratch through the sand to quite a depth. I put my run under an arbor where landscape pavers had been set on fabric. They have now dug almost all of it up. It is aggravating to try to pull it up when they get a shred of it started. The sand I love. It is most awesome if you cover it to keep it dry. No cleaning poop up and no smell.
  3. GiddyMoon

    GiddyMoon Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Tucson, AZ
    It depends on your humidity level. We are in AZ..sand dries out really quick here and it works awesome. If it is several inches thick, I can't see them tearing it up...but I would assume you would have to rake it now and then to let it evaporate.
  4. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Songster

    Apr 4, 2011
    Near Seattle
    I put hardwire under my run - sticking out about 12 inches on all sides... then sand in the run and concrete blocks outside.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    My chickens easily dig down 8-10" for their dusting holes, sometimes more. You'd have to put a LOT of sand on top of it to not have it get ripped up and all mixed amongst the sand and a mess. I wouldn't do it.

    BTW I would very, very strongly suggest that you NOT "roll the area flat with your tractor roller". You will be creating, basically, a bathtub -- an area of slightly lower and more-compacted (more-water-holding) soil. That sort of maximizes your wetness problem.

    If the area is really swampy, I would suggest bringing in maybe 6-12" of roadbase type aggregate (ideally make it a larger area than the actual run, so the edges can gradually slope off without you having to worry about retaining boards and such) to raise the run area DISTINCTLY up above high-water level. Then put sand (in retaining boards) on top of *that*. You are quite unlikely to have any wetness problems that way.

    If a load of roadbase is not gonna happen, at least see about digging a trench around the area (not right outside the run fence -- more like 6' or so outside it) with a leadoff trench to lead the water away to a lower area. Then put the sand on the existing soil without disturbing it.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

    Apr 11, 2011
    One idea that was given to me for drainage problem areas (you can modify as you like) is to dig down 12-14" pitched toward where you want it to drain, lay down plastic, cover with 6-7 inches of sand, then hardware cloth, then 4-5" of any type of stone, then hardware cloth, and finally pea gravel. Provide a sandbox area of 50/50 sand and DE. Of course, the size of your run would determine how costly you want this to be.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by