Do you put any litter in your run?

Texas Fluffy Feet

11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Arlington, TX
I have 5 cochins who will have a very nice 15'x8' run attached to their coop when it is all finished out. There is grass in part of the run area but I know with 5 sets of fluffy feet scratching it won't be there for long. I am wondering about what to put down in the run once the grass is gone so that they aren't just walking in mud after it rains? I would think it would really mess with them since they have all those feathers on their feet. I plan to use pine shavings in the coop, but outside on the ground wouldn't it hold moisture in and then begin to mold or rot? I was thinking a better choice may be those big chunky style nuggets of wood like you get to help with weed control in flower beds. Has anyone used those?

If you put something down in your run what is it and why do you prefer what you use? Or perhaps am I just worrying needlessly and the mud won't bother the chickens anyway? TIA for any advice.
I throw in a bale of straw once every other week or so. They live digging around in it and it gets them out of the mud. On cold days I throw scratch in the stram and get a kick out of digging through it.
Good thread thanks for starting it, I've been wondering too!
hi that is what I did in one of our outdoor runs...but we used large nugget western bark.

it seems to work alright...clean and dry great circulation.

though only thing I noticed our sultan seems to walk funny on it. I dont think she likes the rough uneven texture of it.

I was thinking of trying the finer/smaller wood bark to see how they do with that. in the rose bed that is what I have and they love it!
still looking around trying different material for the outdoor runs.
I have question about the straw what size cut do you use?

If I remember right I think I saw sad post in here about a chickens crop impacted full of straw. is that rare?
I started out with grass. It quickly turned to mud on rainy days. I read that someone used dried oak leaves of which I had an abundance, so I raked a pretty big pile into the run. It was hard to see their poo on the dark leaves, so I sprinkled large flake pine shavings into the mix, and it's wonderful! They knock shavings out of the coop, too. After every rain, I sprinkle a new top layer of pine shavings to freshen the run up a bit. Wet shavings dry fairly quickly with the chickens scratching, but they are darker when wet, and I don't like second guessing stepping in their poo! That's why I freshen the top layer after rain. I've read that some folks use sand, some folks (wealthier than me) pour a concrete slab which has the advantage of being easy to clean and not as likely to harbor mold and bacteria or to allow predators to dig in, and still others have even used small gravel. I am happy with the shavings for the time being.
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SkyRoo, I saw the same post! That's one reason I don't use straw. Hay is definitely a no-no because when damp it harbors a deadly mold for chickens. Now that grass cutting season is here, we should all get mulching blades for our mowers, too, if our chickens free range where the grass lays. They can get impacted crops from eating long blades of grass! If you bag your clippings, you don't have to worry about that. We have too much grass for bagging, so my DH bought the mulching blades.

One of the cons of straw is that it really isn't cheaper than shavings if you get the smaller cut, and it's time consuming to cut it yourself. The pine smells so good when you first strow it, and just a few handfuls a day keeps it smelling nice. When mixed with food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) the droppings you don't remove or you miss during clean up dry very quickly. In the index under the FAQ heading on the forum is a link regarding the deep litter method in the coop which is what I use. I don't have a board to stop the chickens from scratching some out into the run, but since I use it in the run, too, it all works out just fine! It took two bales of large flake premium pine shavings a month when I started, but now it only takes 1 bale a month for an 8x8' coop and 8x18' run (unless it rains a whole lot).
wow I like to try the leaf idea! great! gosh now its the wrong time of year to go finding leaves....bummer

I gotta try that and like you said mixing it with the shavings...nice idea!

I wonder how sand and gravel would be...mmmm

how is it cleaned? would a person have to shovel all that heavy sand and rocks out and replace?
I read an article written by one of the universities in a southeastern state that experimented with sand. It harbors less bacteria than shavings or straw. I imagine you could use something like a cat litter scoop to remove the droppings, but I think it would be awful when wet, and I don't know how fast it would dry out after rain. If you had a covered run, and if there was a HUGE, long handled tool sort of like a cat litter scoop, it would be nice. The weight would be too much for me to load and unload just to get it on site! I can't imagine how one would clean up poo from gravel.
I guess you would just power hose it frequently and the gravel would filter the poo! I use a child's garden hoe (real cheap at WalMart and available NOW). I remove poo daily from the coop and run, but I'm crazy! I have a little 2 gallon pail I put it in. At roost time each evening, I carry the poo to the compost pile about 50 yards away from the coop and run. (I read somewhere not to keep that stuff near the chickens because of their respiratory sensitivities.) My bantams poo is so small, most of it just gets stirred in to the bottom of the litter and the DH dries it and then it breaks down into what I call poo dust!

I plan to put a sloped cover over the top of my run so that after a rain it won't be as yucky. Wet is just not a great environment for chickens. I worry about mold and bacteria. I keep food and water in the run and the coop, and I know they spill a lot of food in the run. They can get all sorts of crop problems from mold and bacteria. I wouldn't want to have to totally replace the run litter after every rain, but I do remove a lot of litter near the food and water station after a rain, because they tend to eat the wet spilled food. Who knows how long or short a time it takes for that to become dangerous? Scary, huh?
hahaha you are funny!!
thats great!!

there is some serious but funny logic in the whole sand bit.

I just might have to try it out...but for sure not the cat sort of sand that stuff turns into a goo clump when wet no good. just play sand.
need a really jumbo cat scooper. *could always fashion something with mesh a homemade jumbo sand sifter* I am sure our neighbors amusement factor would greatly increase.

well I do like the idea that sand does not harbor bacteria wow. thank you for sharing that!

mmm thinking about the rocks...

I just gotta experiment I guess.
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