Clay floor in run. Help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by vick01, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. vick01

    vick01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Sydney,Australia
    Hi. I recently moved and improved my coop and run to a shadier spot. The summers here have been really hot. However we have recently had a lot of rain and I realised there's a lot of clay in the soil. It makes it slippery for me, and rock hard for the chickens once it has dried.

    In gardening terms, the best way to break up clay is to add gypsum & organic matter (compost, straw etc). I know the chickens would love the straw, but don't know if the gypsum is a good idea. I also have a large supply of composted cow manure. Is this a good or bad idea to spread it in the run? Any other ideas?
     
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I say go ahead with the cow manure and straw. The chickens will love it. I am not sure what gypsum is, though.
     
  3. vick01

    vick01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Sydney,Australia
    Thanks. Gypsum is a type of garden lime (calcium sulphate) which doesn't change the soil PH, but does help to break up clay. Happy to use it on the garden, but not sure about the chicken run.

    The run isn't covered, so I guess deep litter method isn't an option??
     
  4. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can still use deep litter. I do. You just need to add more, carbon more frequently. The lime might not be a good idea. It burns their feet. Maybe Agricultural lime.
     
  5. vick01

    vick01 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2014
    Sydney,Australia
    Haven't heard of agricultural lime. I'll check it out. Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You certainly could put some organic matter in there, the chooks will help stir it up and scratch it into the clay soil......just watch for pockets of slimy rot, some fungus and molds can be toxic to birds. Applying it in moderation will help keep anything anaerobic from forming.

    Not sure about the lime....there's some that burns and some that doesn't but I know jack about either of them.
     
  7. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    My run and soil started the same as yours.

    I added 12 inches of free wood chips gladly donated by a local tree service company.

    I did not add any additional manure.

    Chicken manure very rich in nitrogen, a "green" in composting terms.

    It took 2+ years before it composted, and more "browns" were necessary.

    I add a lot of free leaves, literally over a ton (as in 200 pounds per week all summer) every year.

    If you have slime and anything anaerobic forming, simply do not add additional nitrogen "greens"!

    Keep adding carbon "browns" such as the wood chips or dried leaves.

    My run is now a constant 8 - 24 inches of deep litter, and smells like a forest floor.

    No mud, flies, or bad odors ever.

    3 - 4 inches below the surface is the blackest gardeners gold you will ever find.
     
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  8. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    RonP has it pretty well down.
     

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