Do I need to clean out the run..?

kona26

In the Brooder
Mar 15, 2015
45
3
24
hello I am fairly new to chickens. I have a coop with run that is about 15 x 7 and sits on the ground in my back yard (coverd). I have noticed the chickens poop has gotten alittle more and more each day. Do I need to clean the grass and dirt area of the poop..? the chickens are stopping it into the ground so it seems like it would be a pain...would it be ok to leave it..? I know people put sand and other things down...I like just having the grass back yard put would put something down if need be. thanks
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,576
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I hate to sound flip, but you won't have grass back there for long if there are chickens on it! It won't be long and that lush green carpet will be dirt, dirt, mud, and poop. I would suggest some kind of ground covering for the area in the run, whether it's pine shavings, true deep litter, or sand. With pine shavings and/or deep litter you can simply add a little more if it gets a little ripe back there. And a simple stirring of that litter will bury the poop and let the microbes and bugs in the soil break it down. With sand you can use a scoop similar to a cat litter scoop and pick up the messes, adding them to your compost pile. There are folks who prefer one over the other, so it's kind of your preference. But believe me, that grass will not remain in the run for much longer.

I prefer deep litter in my run. This spring was the first time it has had be cleaned in a year, and it really wasn't that bad. In fact, I left a good layer of the year old litter in there when I removed the rest of it, and added fresh material right on top. Easy, no odor, and compost ready for the garden!

There are plenty of threads dealing with deep litter and with sand. You might check both and see what will work best for your situation. But I don't think you'll be happy when the hot summer sun starts baking that accumulated chicken poo and it starts to smell. It's also not at all healthy for the chickens to be stomping, dust bathing, and standing in.

Whatever you chose to do, good luck with your new flock!
 

momgoose

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 2, 2012
73
4
39
NE Tucson
Yes you need to clean the run. The grass will be gone after a season, chickens love to eat it and they are unmerciful scratchers. Your run will be dirt by next year. Chicken poop stinks, draws flies, harbors bacteria and won't go away by itself. However, it composts well into a great organic substrate for plants. Roses love it.

I use a adjustable leaf rake to clean up the poop in my run then dump the waste in my composter. I don't however use the waste when my chickens are molting and there are feathers in it, That poop goes in the garbage. Feathers don't compost.

You can use a bedding like wood shavings or hay. I do not recommend straw (if the chickens swallow it it can become impacted in their crop) or sand. Sand is hot in the summer and although its great for dust baths, most sand contains silica that acts like ground glass in the chickens airways.

Good luck with your new hobby!
Terri
 

YardBirdMom

Songster
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
278
31
108
Tryon, Oklahoma
You can get river sand which is what I put in my run. It's a covered run & it's been in there for a year. I've occasionally used a yard rake to rake it and clean the excess poop and dropped feed. They've compacted it and since I'm very anal about it being dirty I plan to dig some of the sand out this spring and replace it with fresh river sand and then try bedding (pine shavings) on top. The river sand is natural and does not contain silica.

For the coop I put bedding in my poop boards, nests, and deep on the floor. I clean the poop boards every few days. We do a full cleaning about every 4-8 wks. I have over 30 birds though so it requires more maintenance.
I also add DE (diatomaceous earth) to my nests, the poop boards, and the floor before I put down the bedding. It's a natural way to prevent mites & lice.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
12 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,752
1,090
401
Fleetwood, PA
I have had my run for 22 years, give or take. It's 25 by 16 & I usually have 12 chickens at a time & I have never "cleaned" my run per say. I don't usually see chicken poop after a day or two. I do till it every 2 years or so. The inner run is sand (7 by13) & the rest is dirt. No smell unless we have monsoons, which doesn't happen very often. I guess it depends on the density of your stocking, but I am always amazed at how much "work" is suggested on here. If I had to do all that is mentioned all the time, I wouldn't have chickens. I clean the coop twice a year, don't use "poop boards etc. Seems like folks like to micro manage everything, but that's JMHO. I think putting any kind of bedding in the run would just make a huge mess.
 

YardBirdMom

Songster
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
278
31
108
Tryon, Oklahoma
Cindy in PA .... I'll clarify for the sake of argument on something; I do what I do because I choose to, not because I have to. Although the thought of poop piling up inside my coop for a year grosses me out. My background has had horses and a barn and stalls in it. We cleaned them everyday during foaling season so it's second nature to treat my chickens in much the same manner.
I'm also recovering from cancer treatment and am a stay at home mom, so I have the time. It allows me to spend time with them & makes me feel better knowing their "house" is clean. I'm sure they don't care either way :)

With that said, my mom agrees with you and thinks I'm off my rocker lol Maybe we all are, but I'm happy.

One more thing, grandmas chickens survived inside the barn where she had a "slat coop", it was dry, but dark & dusty and got cleaned once a year (they free ranged during the day), in the spring. Her chickens were happy, healthy, laid awesome eggs, and were awesome fried :)

I say each to their own devices.
 

WCHomestead

Chirping
Sep 23, 2014
43
4
77
East Tennessee
Welcome! First and always, have fun with your chickens! Amazingly, they are very capable of taking care of their areas themselves. I have two runs, one is 16x16 and one is 18x18. Of course we started out with grass in both and that quickly went "to the birds". We even tried putting grass seed under some peat moss under straw this winter but they just ate it. Grass is a thing of the past in our runs! The bigger one is partially covered and the other is not. Neither have grass in it. The uncovered one is all dirt and we will throw in our grass clippings. The partially covered one is dirt and straw. We add straw to it when it gets a bit smelly such as after a lot of rain or snow or when it has broken down enough so that there is mostly just dirt. They love to scratch around in there when we put new straw or grass clippings in there!

We have had them for about a year now and we have only mucked out the partially covered one once. We did it only because it was really ripe after we had a terrible weather period this past winter where we got snow, ice, snow, ice and rain in between for a couple of weeks. It simply wouldn't dry out. So we mucked it out and put it on the compost pile. Otherwise the runs and poop dry out perfectly fine and the birds could care less if they step in poop!

As for the coop, we put pine chips/shavings on the floor and in the nests which seems to help dry out the poop too. We don't use poop boxes and very few of our girls use the roosting bars we have installed. We add to it every couple of months for a deep litter and then we will change it out completely about 3 times per year.

Like YardBirdMom said, you can do as little or as much as you want for them...usually it is to make ourselves feel better!
 

kona26

In the Brooder
Mar 15, 2015
45
3
24
Thank you all for the info..!!!! Yeah I can see that the grass is just gone and don't seem to be coming back any time soon. I am ok with that. It is on the side of the house where I keep my storage. I have 6 chickens and put pine shavings in the coop .... just didn't put anything down on the ground. I do not compost but I think I am going to start. thank you all for the great info. I am very new to this and want my chickens to be happy and healthy. I think that is a good idea to use grass clippings. Is that recommended ..? I would love to be able to mow the lawn and spread the clippings in their run.
 

TalkALittle

Songster
5 Years
Dec 15, 2014
1,661
725
191
Massachusetts
Yes, you can just toss the clippings in and the chickens will scratch it around and keep turning it. It works better if you can also have bits and pieces of other dry stuff in there like shredded leaves, pine shavings, mulch or wood chips to balance out the moisture of the grass and help keep things light and fluffy.
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom