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dirt run maintinance

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Megs, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Megs

    Megs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2009
    hi guys, so i was wondering what you all do for mantinence of a dirt run? it is deffinatly time for me to scrape out the bottoms of my runs (nice poo layer accumulating), and im just wondering if it is a good idea to put down some fresh dirt to replace the dirt i pull out, and if well composed horse manure/shavings/hay would do the trick? im sure they would looove to dig around in it (will be nice bugs to!), and i can replace it as often as need be, no shortage of composted manure on the farm. I had thought of doing gravel of some sort, but dont have the funds/time at the moment for another project.

    also i was wondering if putting down some de (diatomacious earth) before i put down new dirt, would be beneficial?

    i have only had my birds since last spring, so have not yet had to worry about run cleaning (which range from 6X10-10X20), id rather do it right the first time!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  2. RocketDad

    RocketDad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After my hens ate the grass and weeds in their new run, I put down a layer of tree shreds from the city's "tree dump" ("limb diversion center"). It ranges in size from nose-clogging dust to small firewood, and the hens enjoyed scattering around the wheelbarrow pile I left in the middle of the run.

    I cleaned the shavings out of my coop a few weeks ago and tossed it all into the run over the still unmelted snow and ice. They've been much happier about going out since then.
     
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Olympia WA
    I wouldn't reccomend putting down composted manure--that would be poop on top of poop! But if you have access to wood chip that would work well, that is what I use. I clean out most of it twice a year, put it on the garden, and replace. They LOVE to dig around in it. Many of the BYCers use sand in their runs and rake up the poo once in a while. I don't think gravel would work too well---hard on their feet and difficult to clean. Try an area with either chip or sand and see what you think!

    Rocket dad posted at the same time--but by wood chip, I'm talking about the same "tree shreds" that he mentioned.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  4. Megs

    Megs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    well i will be scraping out the chicken manure prior to putting anything new down, and the composed manure is composed to the point where it is dirt (and its not just poo, as i said its also wood shavings and hay), and my layers LOVE to dig around in the dirt, so thought the bantams wouldnt mind it either (it was grass, but of course that does not last). When i was thinking gravel i meant very fine gravel or very course sand, not rocks.

    not sure what woodchips cost, i will look into it thought, it sounds like it would work well. sand isnt cheap for the ammount i need so its not an option right now, im looking for cheap/free options as i dont have $ to be putting into the chickens at the moment.

    any thoughts on DE before putting down anything new? i have heard it helps with smell (though the run does not really smell, even though its muddy atm with the ammt of rain we are getting), and pest control (though, again, not really any unwanted pests out there), more of a preventative thing.
     
  5. dovecanyon

    dovecanyon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The DE is a good idea, but I wouldn't put it down under the new dirt (or what ever you decide to use). After you get everything finished, just sprinkle it lightly on top and kinda stir it up a little with a rake. Whenever you rake, clean, or add new material, sprinkle on a little more and give it a stir.
     
  6. 5 spoiled hens

    5 spoiled hens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2009
    Oregon
    I think wood chips would work great and a lot of places get rid of them for free if you ask. I work at a power company and we love to have people call and ask if they can get our chips. We will even deliver them when we are in their area trimming trees. We have to pay to dispose of them otherwise. Another thought is the County or State maintenance departments that trim trees, they would need to dispose of them also. Good luck!
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    any thoughts on DE before putting down anything new?

    DE loses all effectiveness as soon as it gets wet​
     
  8. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    My run is pretty big for the number of birds I have but Ive never really had to do much to it. I throw scratch and treats in the run so theres lots of scratching going on and it gets rained on. Sometimes I throw some straw in there for them to scratch thru or some wood shavings this time of year because they wont go out in the snow.
     
  9. tinyscrafts

    tinyscrafts Out Of The Brooder

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    I just redid the yard and lawn and had them truck in some " composted horse manure" it's got alot of wood chipy type stuff init and what looks like dirt. Then i ran out of money so i havent got my sand yet. I plopped my tractor in the spot and left it there, I'm surprised it's been two weeks and there really isn't a smell yet. I think maybe they dig around so much it works in the poo ... not bad so far...
     
  10. ksct

    ksct Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2009
    upstate, NY
    RIGHT NOW I WOULD RECOMMEND SAND. I KNOW IT'S EXPENSIVE IF YOU PURCHASE IT BY THE BAG. IF YOU CAN FIND A PLACE THAT SELLS IT BY THE TRUCK OR WILL DELIVER... THAT'S YOUR BEST BET.
    I HAVEN'T FOUND OR SEE/USED ANY TYPE OF WOOD CHIP. I WOULDN'T MIND THAT I THINK BUT IN THE SUMMER SAND IS AWESOME! THEY CAN EAT IT, AND 'DUST BATHE' IN IT AND SCRATCH AROUND IN IT. WINTER, I'M NOTICING, IT PRETTY MUCH FREEZES... BUT YOU CAN SCRAPE ANY POO OFF THE TOP OF IT IF IT GETS A BIT TOO MUCH. OUR BIRDS ARE A LITTLE SPOILED SO WHEN THEY CAN'T SCRATCH IN THE SAND I TRY TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE PLENTY OF TREATS OUT THERE. SOMETIMES I PUT SOME STRAW DOWN FOR THEM IN THE RUN.... BUT IT GETS NASTY IF IT GETS WET (AND HEAVY) SO IT'S NOT MY FAVORITE, BUT THEY LIKE TO LOOK FOR THINGS IN IT. ALTHOUGH IN THE WINTER, THERE'S REALLY NO BUGS UP HERE IN UPSTATE NY TO FIND IN THE STRAW. THEY SEEM TO ENJOY LOOKING THOUGH.

    I'D LIKE TO SEE SOME PICS OF ANYONE'S RUNS THAT HAVE WOOD CHIPS OR WHAT TYPE OF SET UP YOU HAVE.
    OH THE SAND IS ALSO GREAT AFTER THEY'VE EATEN ALL THE GRASS BECAUSE IT DOES GET WET, BUT IT DRIES OUT PRETTY QUICKLY AND DOESN'T LEAVE A MUDDY MESS. WE GOT A LOT OF RAIN THIS SUMMER SO IT WAS NICE WHEN WE FINALLY GOT THE SAND.

    I'M GOING TO ATTEMPT TO FIND SOME DE FOR THIS SUMMER. I HEAR GOOD THINGS ABOUT IT. I THINK FROM WHAT I'VE READ, IF YOU PUT IT DOWN PRETTY MUCH WHEREVER YOU CAN, YOU'LL BE DOING JUST FINE.
     
    1 person likes this.

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