Hay in the run...can I dig it under like in the garden?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Egg Rookie 2010, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Egg Rookie 2010

    Egg Rookie 2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    North Idaho
    Ok my birds are 4 months old. This is my first batch and also the first time that it has been cool in June and even raining in my 40 years. I put a half bale of hay in the run to keep them out of the mud. It worked wonderfully and they are very entertained. Well it will heat up soon and the soil will become as hard as concrete. Is there any reason why I cant/shouldnt turn that hay under right in the run while the dirt is still soft enough to work? It seems to me a good thing to do for chickens (nice soft dirt to dig) and good for the soil condition and bug population they so love. I mean, I do this in the garden at the end of each season so why not? I could go dump it on the compost pile but....Any input?
  2. breezy

    breezy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2009
    Sand Coulee MT
    I have done this. I rototilled in all the nasty used straw in the run from over the winter. When I did it I added a few bags of sand on top then rototilled it all in to help improve drainage. It worked pretty well for me and thats what I did 2 years in a row.. This year I raked it all up and spread it around the plants in my garden then covered it with a really thick layer of lawn clippings.Its an experiment. I want to see what happens using it straight on the garden without composting it first. Ill probably end up with a ton of little sunflower plants since I fed BOSS all winter. Im going to fill the run with sand this year and skip any straw on the ground this winter to see how that works. Good luck
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you live somewhere a) dry and/or b) very well-drained, so that you can't imagine mud or wetness ever becoming a problem in your run, then sure, go ahead.

    If OTOH you live somewhere such that there is a reasonable chance you'll run into wetness problems in your run, at least at some time of year or in the future, I'd be reeeeaall leery of intentionally making the soil spongier and more water-retentive.

    In California I would *guess* you're probably in the former category, but whadda I know LOL

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. Egg Rookie 2010

    Egg Rookie 2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    North Idaho
    Pat...I have read your wonderful pages with great care. There is such good stuff there and I was careful about where I built my coop and especially the ventilation by the info I learned there. Thanks. Typically it is well over 100 degrees here already. Ive never seen weather like this. The coop is on high ground with dirt like concrete and DG about a foot down. I thought it to be a good idea to do this for the exact reason of making it softer. The only mud that happens here is out in the pasture on low ground where a creek comes through when it rains hard.
  5. queenbeezz

    queenbeezz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    I'm not so sure I'd want my chickens walking on rotting, dirty hay. I never use hay in the run because I find that it breeds lice and mites. I am such a proponent of sand in the run (at least 4 inches deep). It is so easy to rake and clean. I mix it with DE to help keep the buggies down. My girls really like it and dust bathe in it too. I replenish about 2 inches every six months or so.
  6. Egg Rookie 2010

    Egg Rookie 2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    North Idaho
    Here is a photo of the run. The right side slopes about 5 inches for any rain run off...the hay is currently on about 1/2 of the run and only about an inch deep max. Should I just take it out then you guys think? I mostly put it in there cause I thought it would be fun for them to pick through. It has been there about 2 weeks. I do rake through it every day and like I said we had a freak rain yesterday.
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nice set up, I agree that if you turn it in, it should be great as long as the weather is going to dry up. Might even get a little grass to grow for the birds [​IMG] Keep a eye on your birds for heat issues as it warms up as the coop looks kinda hot and shade is marginal for your climate.
  8. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    I would rake as much out as I could, then roto-till the run.

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