HELP--how to keep urban run clean and prevent flies and rats?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by strawbie4, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. strawbie4

    strawbie4 New Egg

    Aug 10, 2008
    Hi all, I'm brand new to BYC and a few months into raising our first 4 chickens. They are beautiful and healthy. They have a coop in our garage, connected to a 6x6 run out in our very small yard. Naturally, they have completely depleted the grass and the area is now just dirt. I know how to clean the coop out, but am not sure what to do with the run. And, err, since I've put off knowing what to do, we now have quite a colony of flies. Worse, our neighbor spotted a rat a few nights ago. So, my big question is, how do I keep their run clean? Do I need to rake it? Put bedding in it? Other ideas? It's too hard to just scoop the poops out, b/c they are all trampled into the dirt by the end of the day.
    Of course, we also started composting recently, which I am concerned may be compounding the problem, but I really don't know.
    Thanks in advance for any assistance,
  2. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wonder if this might get more response in the coop & run design forum, but I'll give this a try.

    I don't know much, I'm a newbie, but I've read a ton. Some options for your situation I've read are

    since your run is already in such poor condition, sound like the best option is for you to dig it out a few inches down and remove the soil. You can replace it with several things, including new fresh dirt, rocks, sand and perhaps even layers of those things.

    Something that would allow you to take it all out again, or spot clean in the meantime.

    You might also consider a new floor if you dig it out... you could put in concrete, or you could put in pavers so that in the future you can shovel, hose & disinfect.

    Lots of luck with that. There are several powder, liquid etc disinfectants or pest killers, but I'm guessing if you remove whats offensive & drawing critters, that should just about cover it.
  3. angels4

    angels4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you leave the girls feed out at night? That could be attracting the rats. Also I've just recieved my first composter and in the information it talks about certian food items, put into the composter attracting vermin. Could it be the composter and not your girls?
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    If you're having a problem with odor in the run, putting sand in will help with that. It drains well and keeps things drier, which helps with odor. It's also easier to rake, if you want to do that.

    For flies, we use fly traps. We're out in the country, though, so don't have them next to the house. Recently, there was a post here saying that a trap with vinegar and sugar added to water, trapped flies as well or better than the typical stinky fly traps. You could try that.

    We don't have a problem with rats here. One thing I know is that 1/2" hardware cloth is supposed to keep them out. 1/4" hardware cloth is supposed to keep out mice. You could look at screening your compost and chicken run, to keep out rats. If there's no food, either compost, chicken feed or chicken poo available, they won't be hanging around. Other than that, you could look at the various traps available.
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    If you live in a urban/suburban area with sewers you are going to have rats. They thrive in urban/suburban environments. I can assure you the arrival of your 4 chickens did not cause the rats to move in they were already there. Just make sure that food is not left out over night and the food is stored in rat proof containers. Set rat traps and get rid of the free loader.

    I hang fly tape/strips in my coop and run and I manage to keep the flies under control and I have over 20 hens. Although until this year this has not been a big problem for me.

    You did not mention if you have an odor problem or just concerned about one. If you keep the coop clean I don't think you should have a big odor problem with just four chickens.

    The run. Do you have a tiller? I found if I till the run about once every two weeks I don't have an oder problem. Now immediately upon tilling you will have a smell as you are stirring up the poop that as been smashed and soaked into the ground.
    I will put a layer of cedar shavings on the outside of my run to give a more "attractive" smell after tilling. I am picky about the cleanliness of the inside of my coop. I have a dropping pit under the roosts that I sweep up the droppings every other day and the bedding is changed once per month in the summer . I have over 20 hens and live in a suburban environment and i can honestly say odor is not an issue for me at all.
  6. GRAM49

    GRAM49 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2008
    Just a suggestion: we built (with little or no carpentry skills) a moveable pen (9x13 feet). We move it once a week just before hubby mows so it has the longest grass. We have three positions for it, so each pen location has two weeks to recover before the chicks use it again. We currently have five using it, but when the little ones begin to use it we will need to widen our locations to take in more space. We stopped putting feed out during the day as they were wasting it. As for flies, outside I don't know how to avoid them, maybe spray the area with water every evening.
  7. Lea71

    Lea71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi there....we have an enclosed run also. DE works great sprinkled about generously to control odor. I spread straw around in the run and have some hanging fly traps from the feed store.
    Hope this helps. [​IMG] Also...we have no smell in the coop or run.
  8. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I keep a thick layer of straw in mine. I did have some flies initially, but haven't seen as many. Maybe the girls have finally figured out how to catch them? [​IMG] I rake it around every once in a while and when it's beyond saving, I'll muck it out and start over. I fling some fresh straw in on top every week or so.

    I think rats are just a neverending battle. If you are diligent, traps are a good answer. I am not, so I have bait boxes.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by