Cleaning the run?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kriswrite, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. kriswrite

    kriswrite Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 30, 2010
    My hubby was asking me today: When do we need to clean the run? Good question! Do we need to clean it at all? How do we clean it? How do we know when it needs cleaning?

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It depends on a few things. How big is it compared to how many chickens? If you go with the absolute minimum space, it is more likely you need to actively manage it, which means cleaning more often. What is your weather like? If you have wet weather you are more likely to have a problem than in dry weather. How close are your neighbors or your house? If the run is a bit isolated, smell is not such an immediate problem. But a wet smelly run is unhealthy.

    To me, the key is smell. If it smells, it may need to be cleaned. If it gets wet for a while, it will probably smell some no matter what you do, so try to keep it dry. I have a large run and let mine free range most of the time, but sometimes I do keep them penned in the run, such as when I know I have a predator threat. As big as mine is and as seldom as I lock them in there, I still get a whiff when it sets in wet for a week or longer. Wet is your biggest enemy as far as smell and health go.
  3. kriswrite

    kriswrite Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 30, 2010
    Thanks; that's helpful. Ours isn't smelly at all, but it sounds like we ought to try to cover it during the rainy season. Does "sanitizing" the run just consist of removing all debris? Or must something else be done?
  4. mystang89

    mystang89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 12, 2011
    Ridgerunner hit the nail on the head. I'm new to raising chickens. This is my first year and all. I've had mine for about 3 weeks now and they stay in their run half the day and free range the other half. The other day it rained for the first time and when I came outside I got a nice whiff of it even though I try to keep it clean. Dry is the key. I use, and I know some people disagree with me, saw dust and shavings on the ground in my coop. I go out and turn it occasionally then add more to it. When it rains I turn it again. My coop is only 10 x 24 ft so with 5 chickens and neighbors pretty close I try to keep an eye on it. I think some people said that using DE helped and I know there is some stuff you can buy at homedepot that help with the smell too. I wouldn't spray it in the run when the chickens were in there and would let it dry before putting the chickens back in but I know its dog friendly. Just a few thoughts.
  5. harvobro

    harvobro Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2011
    New Iberia, LA
    First of all, we live in town with very tolerant neighbors. Never has anyone had a bad thing to say about our 6 hens or their habitat. In order to insure that the peace is kept, I carefully walk their large run and scoop up their poop as part of my daily routine of cleaning their coop, and refreshing their waterers and "swimming pools"... but that's another post. Most often I find myself scooping poop around their yard several times during the day when I go out to check on them, collect eggs, or bring treats. I'm just cleanliness obsessed, as far as the chickens are concerned, that is. [​IMG]

    I have a bad back and bending over to scoop up poop was killing it. I'd have to sit down and rest my back after the constant stooping and scooping-- then I was shot for the rest of the day. Perpetual problem-solver that I am, I thought of a solution! What I needed was a dustpan with a handle on it that I could use without bending over! Eureka! A lobby broom... at least I guess that's what they're called in the janitorial lexicon. You know, the kind of thing you see at Disney World where they're constantly sweeping up the tiniest scraps of paper to maintain that Disneyworld kind of feeling with nothing out of place.

    So I found one at Lowes that even came with its own broom which clamps onto the handle. But the broom was not exactly the best scooping tool for poop. I had the catcher, but the scooper needed to be a rake, not a broom. So I wandered into the garden section at the big box store and found a children's rake. Perfect! It was just the right size and diameter to clamp right onto the dustpan handle. I was in business! No more bending over! Constant practice with my new tool has made me a pro at positioning the rake at just the right spot behind the poop and "flicking" it into the catch pan. Wow!

    I've really enjoyed this adaptation/accomodation/solution for my back problem. Just wanted to share it with you folks on the chance that some of you may have a similar problem/need.

    Here's a photo:
  6. N. Virginia

    N. Virginia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Good idea. I found the same setup as a dog pooper scooper at a pet store.
    N. VA
  7. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    It depends on your run and your preference.

    Our run is 100 square feet and houses 5 chickens for all but 1-6 hours of each day. It's shielded from 85% of all precipitation, so a large majority of it stays very dry all year long. That means the poop dries out very quickly and doesn't stink - even with several days of heavy rain, we only ever get a slight odor (for as long as it remains wet) in the portion of the run that is wet. The floor of our run consists of native soil (very fine, dusty clay) and about 80 pounds of play sand. Every 1-2 weeks, my husband will collect 3-4 bags of grass clippings while mowing and throw them in the run (the chickens LOVE that). Whenever he's ready to add new clippings, we rake (regular leaf rake) up all of the old and put them in the compost pile. That removes a good 90% of all of the poop and feathers in the run. It takes all of 10 minutes for one person to do. Piece of cake.

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