Chickens on gravel/sand/concrete - advice needed.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Will Malone, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Will Malone

    Will Malone In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2017
    Hi All,

    I am making some plans for our family to get some chickens and I was hoping for a little bit of advice.

    We have an area in the garden which I think was used by the previous owners as a dog run, it is fenced and we are hoping to use the whole area for the chickens to free range. The area is made up of one half being predominantly a mixture of gravel/pebbles/sand, and the other solid concrete with a couple of corrugated iron sheds. Its a real sun trap and in the summer it can get quite hot, due to both the exposed position and the ambient heat from the concrete, sheds and gravel.

    We have a chicken coop, which we have located on the gravel underneath a large shady tree and we plan in install some raised planters throughout the area in order to grow some plants to produce more shade. In addition, we have a separate chicken coop extension run (which is open at one end) and we hope to put some shade cloth over it to provide another area of shade.

    A few questions spring from this:

    - Is the gravel/pebbles/sand mixture suitable for the chickens to be housed on? It is quite dusty, so my thinking is they would enjoy scratching and dust bathing in it, but its very poor quality ground, so there are no worms in it

    - Is there something I could put down on top of the gravel to both make it more hospitable for them and reduce the ambient heat? Some kind of mulch maybe?

    - Do I need to put anything down on the concrete areas?

    - Any planting suggestions for the raised beds for producing some extra shade?

    - Any other issues I should be aware of?

    Thanks a lot

  2. chickenweirdo1

    chickenweirdo1 Songster

    Mar 23, 2016
    [​IMG] Great to have another poultry lover!
    The gravel is fine. I would suggest putting some loam or top soil over the concrete, it would also give them some better ground. If they got table scraps that would be great too.
  3. JuliaWesterbeek

    JuliaWesterbeek Chirping

    Oct 17, 2016
    Welcome to BYC!

    Here are some answers to your questions based on my experiences!

    I have 6 chickens myself and half of the area they are allowed to roam is concrete and 1/3 of the area are pebbles . Where I live it is always 25 celsius and above (late morning it is normally 33 celsius) and I have not had any problem with concrete or poor ground. The chickens love dust bathing and eating grit in between our pebbles. If you like you could put mulch or wood shavings on the pebbles but I don't. If you want them to eat some worms you can buy or grow mealworms and feed them. In the morning we hose down the concrete to reduce the heat. We also have tree that provides a lot of shade for the chickens. Some plants that are good for planting are plants that they can sit under or in so since it is a lot colder in the shade of the plants. Also, if it is hot add ice to the water, and provide a little "foot bath". In a corner of our concrete area I have a basket full of hay where they love laying down in! Good Luck with your flock!!

  4. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    I like horse stall mats over concrete (and plywood) floors. Then there's no poop baking to concrete! They're 3/4" thick and come in 4x6ft as well as 4x8ft. Then you can put whatever bedding you like over that - pine pellets, shavings, sand, whatever- knowing they won't be on plain concrete.

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