How do you keep the run clean?


9 Years
Apr 15, 2010
Walker, West Virginia
It is begining to not smell very nice in the run.
It looks messy too as my young chickens (soon 3mos old)
just keep losing feathers and growing in more.
It measures 8 x 12 and I have 12 hens.
Most of the grass is gone now.
What should I do just rake it?
Or is there anything I can add to the soil
that will make it smell nicer.
I added about 3 inches of sand to my run. Since I feed the girls greens in the run, I rake up the leftovers each morning before I open the pop door. In the process, I get a good deal of the poo too. I toss the green stuff in the bucket and use a very large kitty litter scoop to sift out the poo and leave the sand behind. At least once a week, I sprinkle a cupful of diatomaceous earth around the run and give it a light raking to keep it from blowing around. The DE helps with the odor and also helps to dry out the poo so it rakes up easily. My morning routine (raking the run, cleaning the poo in the coop, refilling food and water) takes me no more than 10 min. I love the sand so much, I put it in my coop, too.
I put two feet of sawdust in mine. 9 hens and it has been about a month and it is still clean and nice, even after the rainest spring I've ever seen. I guess they just keep working it in. I think there is a link to my blog, there are photos of it in last months posts.
Their hen house I clean once a week.

Good luck!
Do they dustbathe in the run? Do they freerange also or is the run their only option? I ask because mine free range, but have a run too. It's usually where the trouble makers go! lol Right now, it's 2-3 roo's that get put in every day. They just cause trouble when let out to free range
When we don't have trouble makers (like after processing day lol) they get free choice, the run or yard and they go back and forth between the 2. The run is totally enclosed though, so if it's gonna be a huge ordeal to clean, I'll skip the sand. (I have to crawl through the pop door to get out there)
i also have sand in my covered run. i would say it is easier to clean than when I didn't have sand (I have had bare dirt and have also tried mulch in the past). Any run will be difficult to clean if you have to crawl through a pop door. If it were me I would expand the access to the run. But I am in the city and keep the run VERY clean to keep flies and odors down. I also use to manure in my compost bin for gardening so it is not a bother to me to scoop the poop every day. If I had more space and the coop were further from neighbors and my house, I would still use sand but might clean less often. Mine are locked in the run when we're not home but free range when we are. They dust bathe in the run sometimes and out in the yard other times. I love the sand in the run because it dries the poop, never gets mucky and is so easy to clean.

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