ground floor of run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by curiositykt, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. curiositykt

    curiositykt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2012
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    I am making the garden coop and I'm a little unclear as to what would be best under foot for the chickens. The area currently doesn't have grass, just dirt, so it's pretty easy to do most things. I am digging around the coop for the hardware cloth and the post holes.

    Should I cover the ground with pea gravel? or is something else better? The tree stump will remain in the middle of the coop.. they'll have fun playing queen of the stump I suspect!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    When you're down to bare dirt, or in your case starting off with bare dirt, I like a coarse sand/pea gravel mixture. They carry this at our local mulch/landscaping company, so we buy it by the truckload. It drains well, they can dustbathe in it, it's easy to clean, and they can scratch and dig in it... [​IMG] You do have to box in around the base of the run with 2x4s or 2x6s, depending on how deep you want it.
     
  3. gapeach717

    gapeach717 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2012
    North, ga
    Any other suggestions? I also have mostly dirt in my run area. :(
     
  4. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have always used plain old dirt, except in the house.
     
  5. gapeach717

    gapeach717 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2012
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    What about smell? The area is prone to be moist along the fence line, what is the safest stuff to put down for the smell, that they will certainly eat, bc they eat everything!! They ate 2 pounds of play sand for cripes sake!!! :rolleyes:
     
  6. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Chillin' With My Peeps

    The chooks keep turning the dirt over all the time- no smell from the run- only from the compacted crap inside the house.
     
  7. gapeach717

    gapeach717 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2012
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    Thank you :)
     
  8. tlagnhoj

    tlagnhoj Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Indy
    Dirt becomes slippery, yucky, nasty mud when it rains.

    My run (about 9'x8') had dirt for about a year before I decided I couldn't stand tracking the crap in my house and across my patio. Or the mess they left on the eggs (because they have to use ONE nest box, all of them). I waffled over sand, sand over gravel, straw. The decision was made more me this spring when I started cleaning out the garden to prepare it for this year's crops. I winter my beds with straw, so I just scraped off the straw and wheeled it over to the run and threw it in. I figured it was free and available, and if I didn't like it, it was a heck of a lot easier to remove than sand or sand/gravel. It would be foolish not to give it shot. Not only did they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE going through it, it's kept the run cleaner and easier to work in when it gets wet.

    I thought I'd hate the straw because wet straw is nasty. But mud is nastier, and the straw dries out more quickly, particularly when the chickens go to work on it, turning it over and redistributing it. If I think they're not doing a good enough job, I toss in a handful of scratch to give them incentive. It's worked out surprisingly well.

    The only benefit I see that sand or sand over gravel has over straw is the longevity. Straw will eventually break down and need replaced (or possibly cleaned out).
     

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