Ground suggestions for run?


10 Years
Oct 26, 2009
My husband and I are planning out our run. It's going to be 10x18 and only a portion will be covered, the rest will have a wired roof. My question is... the ground where this run is going is already torn up. There's no grass at all. Is it a better idea to put down a layer of small rocks then a thick layer of playground sand to keep this area from turning into a muddy mess? Will the chickens not like this area because there's nothing to scratch at? I plan on putting out meal worms and other treats throughout the day but will they get bored or will the sand keep them occupied?


I just finally finished covering my run with sand today. It was all mud. I keep reading sand is the way to go if you have mud or just dirt. People that have used sand for awhile say after they go out and rake it the chickens can find little treats. As far as I'm concerned sand is way better than mud. Good luck!
I'm partial to pine shavings with de mixed in every week or two. The chickens will scratch it and turn it which keeps them occupied, the de helps with the wetness. Its a win win situation. Ijust keep adding pine shavings now and then, maybe rake it a bit to help break down poop. Then shovel the whole thing out when it looks ready to go into the garden and start over.
Sand is a great material for a run which is what I have. However, I have found that my birds have gotten bored easily this winter. There has been some feather picking due to the boredom. First thing in the morning when I let them out of the coop, I give them some sunflower seeds to scoop up. But after that I found that they were looking for more to do. There's not much in sand to scratch up unless you add stuff. I have recently begun to let them free range more and I added a Purina Flock Block to my run to give them something to peck at and that has helped with the pecking issues.

The sand will get muddy as the dropping load builds up so try to do a poop patrol. After this winter I plan to remove some of the soiled sand and refresh it with new sand, even though I try to scoop a lot of the poop out. Also, keep the sand loose with an iron rake every few days so it doesn't pack.
See my "fixing a muddy run" page, link in .sig below, for a bunch of suggestions on how to prevent things from getting muddy in the first place

Good luck, have fun,

These are all great suggestions. Now I just have to convince my hubby this is the way to go. I don't think he like the price it'll cost but I know this is best for my babies!!! Thanks everyone

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