cement chicken run -- layer of sand, straw, both?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by eastvanchicken, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. eastvanchicken

    eastvanchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2009
    Vancouver
    We searched the discussions on chicken run floors and have a question. Our run (for two chickens) will be 24 ft sq (they'll have access to a small backyard at times), covered and COMPLETELY dry year-round. It is on a cement pad (under a balcony). We were thinking of adding a layer of sand (which many here have suggested). Could/should we then add straw which can be raked out and composted when needed (every week or two?).

    Any suggestions?

    PS The goal is the pampering of two pets in an urban environment [​IMG]
     
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    The final decision is up to you of course....we add a deep layer of straw on the concrete during the winter months when the hens aren't able to free range. It gives them something to do, pecking and scratching, as well as a soft bed to walk on instead of the hard concrete.

    During the summer I have a thin layer of sand for easy clean up, and re add some as needed.

    Try both ways and see what you and the flock prefer!

    ~ bigzio
     
  3. eastvanchicken

    eastvanchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. How often is the sand replaced? Could I put a thick layer (several inches of sand, cover this with straw and just rake out the straw? Probably adding lime...
     
  4. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Replace when needed. You'll be able to tell when it's time.

    I would be careful as to which lime you use....some can burn the chickens feet.

    The safest lime is regular garden lime (calcium carbonate)
    It's nothing more than crushed limestone.

    ~ bigzio
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If this is *really really* a totally dry area, you could try just using a good thick layer of straw. You can also chuck in garden weedings, veg trimmings, anything like that. Remove whole thing to finish composting elsewhere once it starts getting pooier than you want.

    If there is going to be any rain etc getting in, though, I think you'd be best with mostly sand; you could add some organic stuff (I'd suggest green things they can eat and scratch around in, more than straw, if possible) but you don't want it to get to the point where there's enough organic matter in there to be keeping it damp (which creates odors and fly problems).

    I expect you'll have to sort of experiment and see what works best for you.

    If you need to use some sort of retaining boards around the bottom of the run fence to keep your <whatever> from washing out, make sure there are little gaps between/under/through the boards so that any water that gets in can get back out.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. eastvanchicken

    eastvanchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2009
    Vancouver
    Yep, it certainly is completely dry. We`ve monitored this through the recent rainy, windy winter and the cement remained totally dry -- now we have bamboo blinds as well to shade and protect. The run has sides about 8-10 inches high as well.

    So the experiment begins. If it works (or doesn't) we'll repost.

    I haven't heard others on the forum with similar sheltered areas but here in this city it seems we have many small raised homes with 6-10ft back decks from the second floor creating a nice sheltered areas usually just cluttered up with stuff not really used. Much better to put in a coop and a couple of chickens! Already a neighbour who grew up with chickens is thinking of getting a couple of our extras.

    Thanks again for the help Pat and Bigzio
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I like pine shavings better than straw.
    They smell good, and wont mat down like straw, making them easier to clean up.
    The birds will keep them stirred up , and adding a little lime will neutralize the ammonia.
    My coop has a concrete floor, and I'd MUCH rather clean out light weight pine shavings than heavy sand
     

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