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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by winekntrychicks, Oct 8, 2008.
I think a thin layer of hay will not attract rats for nesting.
I use a combination of mulch and peatmoss, is working for me.
Several inches of gravel solved our muddy run. And we have since removed the bird netting before it collapsed.
We have something called Crush 'n Run here that you can buy at most landscaping companies. It's just a mix of gravel and sand that people use on gravel lanes around here. I layed down an inch or two of that in my 18x21 run, then over that we covered it with another three inches or so of creek sand. Creek sand is just a course sand also readily available here. The advantage of sand is it drains so well. We've had rain, rain, rain all summer, fall, and now winter has started with fierce sleet and snow mix that has everything absolutely a boggy mess. Everythng except our run. My Gals' tootsies are good and dry. I went out today at noon and they were all enjoying a good dust bath. Don't use hay or shavings. It absorbs moisture and holds it. Then it gets moldy. Not good. Sand. Sand. And more Sand. Oh, and you can go out every few days and turn it over with a hoe and turn in the poop. That helps with the stink plus is helps it break down. In the spring we'll take out about a third of the sand and put it on the garden and replace it with fresh. Probably shouldn't have to do that more than once a year. Anyways, that's my two cents worth. Here's my Gals' run the day after T.S. Ida blew through a couple of months ago.
I'm in the process of building our coop/run, so let me throw in my 2 cents worth.
My foundation is constructed of 4x4 PT corner posts in concrete, with a pan built around the perimeter made of 4x4s as well. Everything is screwed together with 3" Gold Screws and the side pieces are staked into the earth with 14" landscape spikes. The back of the pan is 2 timbers high in order to bring it up level with the front timber. Overall outside dimentions are 10 feet by 5 feet.
I filled the lower level of the pan today with 18 1 cubic foot bags of red volcanic rock from home Depot. It's very resilient stuff and quite sharp, which makes it stay in place and drain water very well. On top of the rock bed I'm going to add about 3" of sharp builder's sand. That is different than the finer stuff sold in bags for filling pavers.
My theory is that since the entire run is roofed, the ban will stay completely dry, and should dessicate chicken poop pretty effectively. If any rain blows in it will drain away very nicely into the flowerbed next to the run. It should be pretty easy to keep clean with a litter scoop and little else. We'll experiment with putting different stuff to scratch in, but the sand over gravel is the best bet in a covered pen.
Sand, sand, and more sand.
I have been using peatmoss over a layer of mulch...so far so good. The peatmoss drains and drys quickly,chickens love to scratch in it. I am still waiting to see if it lasts.
Quote:I doubt it will last over time. Chooks like to root and scratch too much to allow it to grow properly. I have come up with what I hope is a solution for that.
I have a 2,000 sq ft run for 24 pullets. I partitioned around 600 sq ft of it with 4' tall chicken wire and rototilled the whole thing and seeded and strawed it down. It is going well. Now I am adding plastic mesh that is same size as 1/2" hardware cloth mesh. It comes in rolls 3 ft wide X 15 ft long. I am tying sections together with soft iron tie wire to form a one piece mat. The grass will grow through it and the chooks can eat it but they cannot rip it out as they do all other grass. I have no idea how it will work, but am doing about 1/2 of the run to be that way permanently. It may work out to be around $0.25 or so per sq ft to do and is labor intensive with tying it together every 12" or so. Places where it wrinkles/rises up will have to be staked down. I will use 1/4" rebar for that and have a 1" 'L' bent at top to hold it down. My goal is to have live grass for them to eat always.
I was going to use chicken wire but I realized that it would be likely that several of them would be injured as the holes are just too big and their toes will get caught under it.
We put down lime, and sand, and a bit more lime and DE, then covered the whole thing with the thick woodchips, like landscaping bark. We use the big pieces tho....several people I know who have aviaries use this.
So, every year we mix it all up again and rake it out to remove most of the poop that we can, and add a little more sand, a little more lime, add fresh bark...and in fall we add ALL the leaves we rake up. The birds break them down quickly, but they help so much with drainage. We havent had a mud puddle YET in our chicken run, and that is something living here in the Pacific NW. And the nice thing is that with the bark and the leaves, in the spring lots of yummy bugs show up so the girls are loving it...then we redo the bark in the late summer, early fall.
thanks for the tips!!