1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Guidelines for building permanent sand-based foundation for coop & run.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickenbike, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've read some threads on this and am looking for input from those who have built a foundation of sand. It seems there have been people who put gravel down as a first layer, but then regretted it as the chickens seemed to dig it up. But would that be because the sand layer wasn't deep enough?

    Several questions are going through my mind.

    Overall depth of sand area? 6", 16"?
    Use gravel at the base with a very deep sand layer?
    Type of sand? (reading another thread, this seems to have a few opinions?)
    Frame in with treated wood as you would fence posts?

    I'm looking to make this the summer project. I'm also looking to do it right so it lasts....as in overkill do it right. I'm not one to cut corners.

    Any ideas, thoughts, experiences are welcome!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  2. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,100
    57
    231
    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    I'd read somewhere about someone putting landscape cloth over a layer of gravel before putting sand on top of it.

    I thought that sounded good, because
    1. it would keep the sand from seeping down through the gravel (then you'd have to add more sand)
    2. I hear that when sand mixes with some kinds of dirt, it creates a very hard dirt that will not allow much water to pass through (so water stays stuck above that dirt, instead of getting absorbed into the ground)
    3. it should help keep the spaces between the gravel rocks clear (allowing for extra good drainage).

    I am in process of doing my semi-open coop with such a floor. I am using poly feed sacks instead of the landscape cloth. I've cut them open on bottom & 1 side seam for broadest coverage & will be trying stitching the spread-open bags to each other at their edges.

    I also screwed a few screws into a plyboard so they poked out the other side, and then laid the board several places on each sack & stomped on the board to poke a few extra-good small drainage holes in the sacks--not very many holes, because don't want too much sand seeping through.

    I'm hoping this all will work well.
     
  3. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    I really like the landscape fabric idea, thanks. I can see the value for all the points you raised. Excellent.
     
  4. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,100
    57
    231
    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    BTW--I have a 3 to 4 inch base of 1" size gravel. I'll be laying the feed sack layer such that is loose enough to shift rather than tear when you walk on the sand on top of it. I'm going to put down 6 or more inches of sand.

    And I'm going to fold over (for extra thickness for durability) the very edges of the feed sack cloth, and staple the cloth to the very bottom part of the wood walls. Then I'm going to attach trim boards to cover all the edges--because you just know the chickens would want to pick at any loose strings. [​IMG]
     
  5. amenfarm

    amenfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    783
    38
    166
    May 10, 2011
    Chattanooga, TN
    Well, when we moved to our place 11 years ago the previous owners had put down smooth, rubber mats(like conveyor belts, I think 3/4 to 1 inch thick) in our stall side of the barn. I was worried urine would just sit in a puddle on top. We pulled up one to look underneath, there is a landscape, woven plastic barrier overlapping 3 to 5 inches, under that is a layer of gravel. Urine from my donkey goes right through--No puddles! The top of the shavings stay very dry, I have to look for wet spots carefully or I don't find anything until it smells. I'm thinking the same way without the mats will work when we do the run this spring.
    Does anyone know how many inches of gravel/then play sand to use? builder's sand leaves my dogs with grey all in their hair--so none of that, and which size gravel to order? I think pea gravel would be too fine.
     
  6. amenfarm

    amenfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    783
    38
    166
    May 10, 2011
    Chattanooga, TN
    Since last night, I asked my engineer dad about the base. He said it will take #57 washed stone in a base of 5 to 6 inches, allows water to filter through, with the landscape or another sort of filter fabric, and 5 to 6 inches of sand on top. The washed stone has all fines removed and the size is such to allow liquids to pass through. I hope this helps--now my dad is coming out next weekend to help me decide where to site everything, we have such a flooded pasture I'm beginning to wonder if I should go to the duck side...[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,100
    57
    231
    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    LOL!!

    We are using washed stone here.
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    5,545
    223
    288
    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: Engineers like to make things complicated.
    Simply putting down a foot of sand will do the same thing with less expense.

    Water is going to go through with or without the stone
     
  9. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    But without the stone, pending the depth of the sand, you can and will reach a saturation point no? Particularly considering what type of ground is at the base of the sand. Some people live in dryer areas vs wetter areas, or dealing with the elements of four true seasons. While the coop and run is covered, heavy snowfall throughout the winter inevitabely leads to extensive ground saturation at the peak melt time. Personally I like the idea of a thorough rock base first.

    I'm also trying to think through adding a board perimeter on the run so that dust bathing and general scratching around being chickens doesn't lead to sand being pushed out the sides. ??

    edited spelling
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  10. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,100
    57
    231
    May 25, 2008
    Idaho/Utah
    Here are photos of what we have in progress. We started out with the idea that is would be a "winter run" that was fairly sheltered. It's taking so long to finish it that for now it's going to serve as our actual coop! (We're going to attach clear plastic over the wire openings to keep out cold, & build a warm sleeping quarters box inside, too).

    Here's the inside of the run, with the gravel down. You can see one of the feed sacks I'm going to stitch together lying there, too, which will cover the gravel before we add in the sand.

    The Winter Run has wood lower walls, which will keep in sand, almost all the way around. The "fence" portion (Yes, that's a painted pallet) will have a pane of plexiglass across the lower several inches (You can see the plexiglass leaning there).

    [​IMG]
    This is in front of the run. We have wedged big rocks under the walls for stability & to help keep out predators. We've also attached hardware cloth to the bottom of the building & will leave it lying fairly horizontal, though are going to dig the dirt away at the outer edge so it will slope a little more down into the dirt. Then we're going to add a little more gravel under the wire to fill the holes next to the big rocks, & then cover above the wire with a little more gravel, some dirt & a few big rocks.

    [​IMG]
    Here is a picture of the whole front of the Winter Run as it is right now.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by