Dirt run in a dry climate?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Lady Henevere, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Lady Henevere

    Lady Henevere Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    Los Angeles County
    Hi, everyone. A quick question -- can the floor of a run be just dirt in a dry climate?

    I was thinking of having my 5 chickens in a coop with an attached run that's just dirt. They would be in the run most of the time during the week and probably out a lot in the evenings in summer and on weekends.

    Is dirt okay as the floor of the run, or does it just get gross with poop? Do I need shavings, straw, etc. instead so I can change it out once in a while? It rarely rains here, so I won't have problems with mud or drainage. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts!
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    My runs have dirt floors and I find it MUCH easier to clean than to hassle with the shavings, etc. I just rake all the garbage up once a week and it's good as new! My chickens love to scratch around in it and dig for bugs too. [​IMG]
  3. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Most of us have dirt in the run. The chickens take care of that. You can throw some straw in there for them to scratch in or hay or leaves. They love it. When it gets broken down good rake it up and compost all of it. Start over. If you leave it as sand or dirt it does get poopy. Raking helps some too. Jean
  4. Rusty's Ranch

    Rusty's Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    So Cal
    We're nearly neighbors -- we're down in Orange County [​IMG]. We have a dirt run, but like crazyhen mentioned without hay (or something similar) on the ground you'll get lots of poo on your shoes. I rake out the run about once a week, sprinkle a little DE on the ground then throw some hay around on top of that. The chickens like to scratch around in the hay and I can just kick the hay (and poo) out of my way when I enter the run. If your dirt is like ours, we're pretty sandy so there's pretty good drainage and we haven't really had trouble with mud.

  5. Lady Henevere

    Lady Henevere Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    Los Angeles County
    Thanks, everyone.

    Sonia -- why do you use the DE? As a preventative or have you had problems with mites/worms/etc.? (Wondering what pests I need to look out for in our area.) Thanks.
  6. Rusty's Ranch

    Rusty's Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    So Cal
    I don't know that's it's imperative to use the DE. We haven't had any problems with pests, but I read that it would help to keep the smell and flys at bay. We had a lot of flys last year (even before the chickens arrived) and if this year is as bad, I don't want the neighbors to have any excuse to blame us and the girls for the fly problem.

    I don't use much. I've poked holes in the top of a mason jar and just sprinkle a little around. It's also supposed to help dry out the poo - makes clean up a little easier.

    If you do decide to give it a try -- wear a face mask. It's not something you want to breath in if you can avoid it. Sometimes I forget - and my nose, mouth and eyes are dry all day.
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I've had a dirt run for over a year now.

    I just need to clean it a little more often... I sweep and mop the coop every week(or one of my kids)
  8. jo-me

    jo-me Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 13, 2008
    Has anyone ever tried lime on their dirt run? I use it and I never have any smell. I don't put down straw or anything else. I usually apply it when the chickens are free ranging and have never noticed any problems with their feet or any parts of their bodies. It seems to keep them pest free also.
  9. satay

    satay oz-e-chick

    Sep 2, 2008
    Esk Qld Australia
    I use lime in the pens once a month. Keeps all the pests at bay here.
  10. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't use lime in SoCal. Our soils are usually pretty alkaline already and lime will make it more so. You'll have a hard time adjusting it later back to neutral or more acid it you use lime. Try something else.

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