I use pine shavings in the coop and just scoop the poop out every morning. 4 Chickens. No flies, no smell, no problem. BUT, the run is a different story. It used to be just dirt but because there was some flies where I put the greens, fruit and veg, I decided to try what I have read. Kind of like a deep litter thing combined with composting which I read people compost right in their coop and the chickens apparently help with the tilling etc. I don't really compost as such as in putting all our food scraps in there,(I have a closed compost system) but I figured the leftovers of what the chickens didn't like/eat would be the compost part. Anyway, so I have those scraps, dirt, chicken poop, pine shavings, DE and some left over hay in there. And just short of a million flies. It is a complete disaster. I have 4, yes, four, of those stinky fly traps up which have tons of flies in, and I change it at least every 3 - 4 days because it is full and stink up a storm. I till the whole area myself as those chickies are not working fast enough. So, I'm wondering what am I doing wrong?? Do I need to put more shaving is there? More DE? How much DE anyway? I level it all out and then sprinkle the whole area from end to end in a thin layer of DE. I did consider getting sand but the area that does have sand at the moment, they avoid like the plaque. It was supposed to be their dustbath area but they refuse to get close to it. Now I imagine myself carrying chickens from one area to another when the whole thing is full of sand. I also don't know how they would get bugs etc if it is just sand. What bugs live in sand? Also, I have a lemon tree and a grape vine in there, which I don't thing will do good in the sand. And I'd also like to plan a few more plants in there so the sand doesn't sound like a great idea. Any ideas, and advice would be great.