Dirt floor for the run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chick-habit, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. chick-habit

    chick-habit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know this is a often asked question but I'm hoping for some advice that is more customized to my situation.

    First off, I live in a Los Angeles neighborhood! We get almost zero rain. If it rains here it feels like a holiday. Staring out the window at rain is a treat that rarely lasts for more than a few minutes. LA is DRY. so dry.

    With that being said I'm agonizing over what the proper flooring for our coop would be. I'm considering deep litter method, right now it's just dirt.

    The specifics: 6 silkies that have access to a hardwire cloth covered, shade and sun accessible 3 foot by 40 foot run.

    I believe sand only in the run would get far too hot.

    Is it ok to leave bare dirt for the run? Should I mix some sand into the dirt?

    The coop is also just dirt. Right now (and possibly for life, according to the breeder) they sleep in a pile on the ground instead of roosting. (They are 10 weeks old). Because of this cuddle puddle way of sleeping is it a good idea to do deep litter in just the coop? The coop is 5 feet by 3 feet but I think we will expand it a bit.
    Thanks in advance for your advice!
     
  2. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    bare dirt if fine for the floor
     
  3. Kim Z

    Kim Z Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suggest sand in the coop and dirt in the run. Give the run a good rake and clean out every day. I'd think about placing a tarp or something over most of the run to provide shade.
    Sand in the coop makes it super easy to clean and will stay cool when not in direct sunlight. Any heat it does pick up during the day will radiate out at night keeping the birds from getting chilled.

    The birds will roost soon enough. No worries about whatever litter you choose.
     
  4. chick-habit

    chick-habit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    los angeles, ca
    Thank you! The back portion of the run has a roof the contractor built- shingles and all!! The girls hang out back there when it's hot. The coop itself stays a little shady until around 3:30. I'm happy it turned out this way, I feel like they have their choice of sun or shade all day long.
    raking the run once a day isn't ideal. I guess that's why I was wondering about other litter methods.

    I truly wonder if they'll ever roost, the breeder with around 300 hens, says her's don't. So odd. I guess it's another weird thing about silkies.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Silkies can't fly, so roosting isn't possible, unless the roosts are very low, or laddered so they can hop upwards. They will want the option, and may take a while to figure it all out. People who use sand are happy scooping it out daily; won't work for me! I use shavings and litter, and love the easy care feature. You can add shrubs or small trees, to help with shade and add interest; pick easy care and non-toxic plants, and enjoy. Mediterranian herbs and shrubs would be good. Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Kim Z

    Kim Z Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "roosting isn't possible, unless the roosts are very low, or laddered so they can hop upwards.  "

    My one silkie roosts on a bar about 10 inches off the floor.
     
  7. Tonyandscarlett

    Tonyandscarlett Just Hatched

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    I am so glad you wrote this I have a very similar question! If I may piggy back on this feed - you may wonder this too. I have a very similar situation but live in Alabama.

    I currently have 4 easter eggers that are about 5 months old and am awaiting 4 ameraucanas I ordered which should be 2 to 3 months old when I get them. They have a coop that encompasses a roosting area with 6 boxes that is roofed with plywood and then covered with contractor shingles - their food and water hangs under that so it is shaded. They have a "Pool" if they want it that fills with rain water. They also have bars to roost or play on and ladders galore. They also have a sunny area the same size - so they can choose what they want to be in. It gets hot and rainy here but never very cold.

    My coop is a strictly dirt floor. I do not want to rake litter. Problem is there is no grass in mine... they also do not get let into the yard due to the dog. We live in a neighborhood. I planted herbs to feed them but they eat so much they are about gone.

    So question.... should I add fresh dirt once in a while or does that not matter? Should I continue to feed them herbs or just let them eat their food? I feel like they need green "vegetables".

    Thanks!
     
  8. Kim Z

    Kim Z Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Madbury, New Hampshire

    Keeping plants and grass alive in a run is next to impossible. Veggies, fruits and greens are good for them and I keep a bowl in my fridge to collect kitchen scraps throughout the day and give them out the next morning. You can also grow some flats of sprouted seeds that you can rotate in and out of the run as they are ready for the girls to feast on.

    As to the dirt, as you rake and clean out you will lose some mass which will need to be replaced as you see erosion happening. Otherwise you will get low muddy spots. Yuck. I use sand and rake in a few handfuls of DE for good measure.
     
  9. Tonyandscarlett

    Tonyandscarlett Just Hatched

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    Thanks Kim Z! What does DE mean? Have you used Lime to combat odor? Mine typically use the roosting area to do their business which I hated at first but now like because it is easier to clean, so not a huge odor problem but sometimes it is. Then again I am a "OCD Cleaner" by nature.
     
  10. Kim Z

    Kim Z Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 5, 2014
    Madbury, New Hampshire
    1 person likes this.

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