1. the girls club

    the girls club Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 15, 2013
    My husband told me today. My run is all dirt. Because the first chickens I had killed all the grass in it. It now has holes in it where the chickens dug holes to lay in. His plan is to use our small roatitaller and to break up the hard dirt. To make the dirt flat again.
    I plan on buying sand or agriculataer stone to put on top of the fresh dirt. For drainage. Which would be best? Why use DE on top of that.? Whats the pourpose of that? Do I have to rake out the sand?I want to put leaves in it in the fall.Something that I could build on each year. That I wouldn't have to replace. I understand the sand concept for drainage. I have NO roof over the run. I'm just trying to make something that works. Iseal would be making 2 chicken runs. But talking my husband into that. Just won't happen. As one grass place gets broke down .Plant grass in the other and have that grow up for the next year.But that isn't going to happen. Also my husband wants to put ALL metal inside the coop. Covering all my wood and insulation behind the walls. I have a cement floor and use pine chips to cover the floor. I believe his thinking is to clean the walls eaiser and to prevent any bugs coming in the coop
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    You have a lot of different ideas going all at once. If you're doing sand then it's going to be sand most of the time, you wouldn't need to do sand and then leaves on top. If you're wanting to do more of a deep litter (leaves, grass, etc) then that would provide the drainage and you'd be doing that year round, so that part really wouldn't be necessary I would imagine unless drainage is a huge issue.

    I have (had) an all grass run. Well actually I have 2 runs, a little like what you were wanting, but I use both at the same time. Once it became obvious that the chickens were going to destroy the grass over winter I dumped in about 50 gallons of leaves and that's now the floor for the main run (the second rest still has grass) and I haven't had any drainage issues.

    I guess my concern with all metal coop is that... isn't that the same as an oven? I guess it depends on how your climate is but potentially the chickens will be baking in there in the summer and then prone to frostbite in the winter (metal seems to collect more condensation and then holds it).

    Does your husband actually know anything about chickens or is he wanting to do these things to make it easier for him to clean? I assume he's the one cleaning the coop and run?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  3. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2014
    I would be a little worried about the metal coop, too. I think it's OK for some bugs to be in the coop -- I think that's just part of the natural balance of things with chickens. Not keeping food and water inside the coop helps to reduce pests in the coop, too.

    I think the condensation issue that @rosemarythyme mentions is significant -- coops really need to be as dry as possible inside for the chickens' health. And the point about the oven also seems right, at least to me.
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I get what your husband is going after with the metal covering. Consider plastic sheeting instead. Home Depot and Lowes sell 4x8 sheets of white plastic about 1/16" thick. Its often used in commercial bathrooms or kitchens where you can hose down the walls. Your profile does not say where you live, but if you have freezing weather, the metal could be problematic - if the metal or bird gets wet, the bird can freeze to the metal. Less likely to happen with plastic.

    I use sand in my run, and you do have to maintain it regularly or it will cake over with chicken poop. Every spring I shovel off the top 2 inches of caked on poop and add it to my vegetable gardens and then bring in another yard of sand to replace what I removed. Works really well - run gets refreshed and the garden gets great fertilizer!
  5. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    My run use to be where my kids swingset was and has a foot of sand. It does get caked up from time to time, but I just rototill it a couple of times a year and all is good. I would not do metal in my coop either, I think there would be issues as some have already stated. The walls of my coop are latex painted 1/4" osb, 8 years and doing just fine.
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I just wanted to make a few things clear and the main reasons chickens eradicate all vegetation in a run:
    First they scratch, digging up seeds and tender plants.
    They eat seedlings.
    They compact the soil.
    The feces makes the compacted soil too high in phosphorus to support vegetation.
    Stocking density further exacerbates it.
    Grass is not great forage for chickens. They may nibble new shoots but it is very fibrous and low in nutrition for them.
    I rotate paddocks for chickens planted in forbs and vegetables. Clover, alfalfa, radish, turnips, beets, wheat, oats, chicory, etc.. In winter, field peas and in summer, buckwheat.
    By the time they get rotated out, most of that has been eaten and the only thing that remains untouched are the old grass plants.
  7. enrgizerbunny

    enrgizerbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2016
    Make 2-3ft circles using rabbit wire and secure them with a couple stakes to keep them in place. It keeps deer off tomato plants, probably will keep enough chickens out to have some vegetation. Rotate as needed in the run.

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