Do you use bedding in your run or leave it bare dirt?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by flyin-lowe, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    I am planning to start construction on my first coop in the next couple of weeks. My initial plans are for the coop to e 8x6, tall enough to walk inside of. I plan to have the run off of the 8 foot side so my run will be 8 foot wide. I will probably go 12-16 foot. I am only planning to start with 6-8 hens. I live in Indiana so the weather is never reliable, we could have drought, or record rains. I have five acres of yard so I have plenty of grass clipping, leaves etc. Is there a huge downfall to letting the run go to dirt and then just throw in some grass clippings etc routinely. I don't want to have to keep it full of sand, pea gravel, etc unless it is really required for some reason.

    I do plan to let them out some when I am home in the evenings but the majority of the time they will be confined.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  2. JacksFarmNGardn

    JacksFarmNGardn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2015
    New York
    I don't put anything outside. I let them pick at the dirt for bugs. I put shavings in the coop only,to keep warm.
  3. Chicken girl 15

    Chicken girl 15 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2015
    harpursville ny
    Leave the run bare. They love to uproot grass and weeds for bugs and they love playing in dirt.
  4. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    Doesn't the run get smelly with just bare dirt? How about flies? We use deep litter, plenty of bugs in that but no smell or flies.

  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    After a season or two your run will be a hard packed, sometimes smelly run. I do deep litter in my bantam run. I put grass clippings, fall leaves, garden produce, weeds, dirt and all, any sod I dig up, hay, spent mulch. I pile it in, the chickens mix it digging for scratch, poop disappears, the dirt gets fluffy and light, drains well, it took a season or two to really get it going and nice but I won't go back to bare, poorly drained packed smelly soil.
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin



  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Make sure you have drainage figured out than you'll be fine. You could also roof part of the run right off the coop to give them a dry snow free area outside.
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    Pile it in there! Grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, anything carbon-based goes in the run around here. Even with good drainage bare ground gets slimy and stinky.
  9. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2014
    I use leaves, shredded newspaper, etc. in the run and put leaves under the roosts.

    Fill the run full of brown plant material in the same way that you might fill it with sand or gravel. The organic material will attract bugs, the chickens will scratch up the ground looking for bugs, and the nitrogen in the chicken droppings will be absorbed by the carbon in the plant matter. Eventually, you'll have a run full of 'cold' compost, which you can take out and return to the garden.

    We knew from the start that bare clay wasn't going to be an option for us, so we set the run on 6" blocks instead of at ground level.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

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