1. colleenschicken

    colleenschicken New Egg

    Jun 22, 2016
    Hi, we built our chicken coop and run this year. We put the run on grass that now is mostly gone. I don't know what i should use for substrate, any suggestions.
  2. WiddleChix

    WiddleChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2016
    I just have dirt in my run, the chickens don't mind and even if their was grass they'd just eat it! :p

    As for cleanup in the coop I just rake it about one every 1-2 weeks.
  3. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only way to keep grass in a run is to build some grazing panels. Make a square or rectangle out of wood and screw hardware cloth on one side. Lay this down over grass or sow some seed under it. The chickens will eat the grass as it grows up through the wire, but they can't dig up the roots.

    I put leaves, pine straw and garden waste in my runs. This keeps it from getting muddy, stinky & slimy. They love to dig through it looking for worms/bugs. This digging will shred the leaves and along with their poo, will make great compost for a garden.
    4 people like this.
  4. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    I have an all dirt run also. I mow the grass in my yard, wait a day or so, rake it up, and pile it in the run. The chickens spread it out looking for bugs. Keeps the mud down and composts faster than hay or straw, for me. Every month or so I just add more grass.
  5. 4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2016
    El Cajon, CA
    Has anyone ever thought about adding sand? My run is all dirt (used to have grass) and I've been seeing people add sand to the dirt. Does anyone know about this?
  6. Kyanite

    Kyanite Loving Life!

    May 27, 2016
    SE Idaho
    I have seen an article about sand in the run. It drains quickly and therefore dries fast so less issues with sanitation and smell. Easy for chickens to scratch through it for what they want, but also easy to rake up anything you don't want in there. I saw somewhere some one (The Chicken Chick I think) say that they take a rototiller to their coop and then reapply fresh sand when it needs a good deep clean. I liked the idea.
    1 person likes this.
  7. 4x4Runner

    4x4Runner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2016
    El Cajon, CA
    A rototiller sounds like a good idea once in awhile. When I rake mine out I noticed I'm loosing quite a bit of dirt. We rake the coop out about every 2 or 3 weeks. They free range a ton in our yard so it doesn't get too bad. A 50lb bag of kids sand is about $5 so if I throw some down I don't think it would hurt? Maybe add some DE? I'm a new chicken owner but this site has helped a ton. I'm always reading new things.
    1 person likes this.
  8. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    1 person likes this.
  9. ladyargentum

    ladyargentum Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 19, 2016
    Western Australia
    My run just has soil which in itself is pretty much sand. I don't have clay type soil here so it will never pack together and become a hard mass. Great as it drains very easily and even the uncovered part of the run never has puddles that last.

    My 3 girls get to free range most days, but when I do lock them into the run I try to add something for them to scratch around in or else I notice an increase in noise from them. The last few times that has been a pile of moist leaves from under a big tree they love to scratch around in. Easy to just rake out of the run as I need to.

    If you have a clay type soil that compacts and retains water then adding some sand to help keep it loosened and allow water to drain away can work. I suppose it just depends on your soil type and weather as to what will work for you.
  10. kgb6days

    kgb6days Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2016
    We were in the same situation as you - built a covered run in a shaded grassy area. The grass lasted about a week, then just dirt. I raked it every couple of days to get the poo out, but the smell was bad. We've ended up going deep liter method and love it. No smell, no raking. I turn it over once a week with a pitch fork, watch the girls scratch and peck. It's been the right solution for us.

    Kristy in NC

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