Gravel vs sand in run- Coop completed on New Year's Day!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chezpoulet, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. chezpoulet

    chezpoulet In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2010
    Redmond WA
    Happy New Year to all BYC'ers- and thanks for all the information that you have supplied me with re: coop designs and raising chicks etc. I finally joined BYC officially yesterday- the same day I finished fencing the run! Husband and I took about two months putting the 4x4 coop together. The coop and run fit into an existing 4x16 garden bed. There is hardware cloth under the run and of course all around as well. Who knew that hardwire cloth, screw and washers cost that much!

    I read somewhere about putting gravel on the run to keep the run clean and dry. Just wondering how difficult is it in terms of clearing poop that accumulates on the gravel? Scrape and hand-pick? Pressure wash? Right now I have drain gravel on the the floor of the covered run area, and sand on the uncovered run area. If the gravel does not work, I may have to remove some and top with sand. Does ant one have experience with gravel in their run? This is not pea gravel, but drain gravel that is probably about twice the size of pea gravel.....

    Would appreciate any suggestions, esp if anyone has tried using gravel in their run....

    My five chicks are 5 weeks old, living in a dog crate in the garage. Looking forward to having them move out into their new digs!
  2. olliecatch

    olliecatch Chirping

    Feb 1, 2010
    Olympia, Washington
    We had such a mud pit in our run, that this summer we put small gravel down. I know I would rather have dirt, but the gravel is easy to maintain. My DH just gets the hose out and washes the poop into the gravel. Part of our run is covered but still gets pretty damp. I like it that my eggs stay pretty clean. We were having to completely wash the eggs because of the mud. The coop stays alot cleaner to. The chickens dont seem to mind the gravel.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you're using something really big (you said twice the size of pea gravel?) then the majority of the poo is likely to disappear down thru the gravel in time, unless you live in a very dry climate. Whether that is sufficient to prevent smell depends on your soil type and on your depth of gravel, but often it is.

    HOWEVER I'd be a bit leery about using that large a size of gravel, as it is not ideal for chickens to walk on or "play in". Something smaller, or mixed-diameter, would really be better IMHO. Your gravel is rounded, yes, not sharp-edged? (which at that size would be another concern)

    Good luck, have fun,

    NCLady likes this.
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    If going with gravel I would use -

    Pea sized stones ¼ to ½ inch in size. Easily worked by hand but does not compact very well. Available in limestone, slag,
    and washed gravel.


    The most common size material ranging from ¾ to 1 inch in size. Easily described as nickel to quarter size. Workable by hand. Excellent for topdressing areas because it can be comfortably walked or driven on. Available in limestone, slag, and washed river gravel.

    Now if you are going to go with sand I would use MASON SAND or All PURPOSE SAND (Not Play Sand). Mason Sand will range from ½" to 1" size and works well for runs.
    The All Purpose Sand you can get at Lowes or Home Depot.

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  5. BWKatz

    BWKatz Songster

    May 22, 2010
    I f it seems they aren't going in the covered area u could add enough sand to "round out the edges and make it more comfortable for them so they would use the sandy part and the gravel part of ur run.
  6. Chicklette 1

    Chicklette 1 Songster

    Jul 8, 2010
    What about class i sand? I have it in a small area and it compacts nicely but still stays somewhat soft. I am considering it for the whole run since this is the first winter I've had the chickens and the run which is now dirt (not the green grass it started out to be), and I've used heaps of pine needles in there. It is still messy and they scratch down to the dirt easily. I think the class i sand can also be used as grit. I have a corner sand box for their dust baths with play sand in it so it is nice and soft but it seems that it would be difficult to contain in an entire run.
  7. chicknewbie

    chicknewbie In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2009
    I am using river sand in my run and have been very happy with the result. It is easy to pick up after the chicks and they love to take baths in it. I sprinkle the run with DE and rake things around a bit to freshen things up. There is no smell and I live in the hot humid south. Good Luck and enjoy the birds.
  8. Chicklette 1

    Chicklette 1 Songster

    Jul 8, 2010
    There are so many different kinds of sand and I do not know what river sand is. Is it fine or gritty or coarse?
  9. JFW

    JFW In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2009
    I have had great luck with fill/builders sand. It drains well and is easy on their feet (they love to dust in it). It is also easy to rake and keep clean. You can dust it with lime or DE if you like.
  10. elmo

    elmo Crowing

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:I don't know if this is something particular only to my area, but I've tried the bagged "all purpose" sand at both Home Depot and Lowe's, and I found the All Purpose sand from Lowe's way too fine (it compacts and will clump when wet). I haven't had this problem with the All Purpose sand from Home Depot, so that's what I use.

    I use a reptile litter scoop to filter the droppings out of the sand, something I couldn't do with the gravel., don't laugh at me! Last spring, to clean up my two sand runs before my hens hatched out their clutches, I sifted the top layer of sand through a collander. That's one of those activities you do in the back yard and you hope the neighbors don't notice!
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011

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