How Many Inches of Mulch for Run?

ObiHenKanobi

In the Brooder
Jul 1, 2020
47
21
23
We just finished building a run that's 96 sq ft for our small backyard hens and a local tree company is going to deliver mulch to use as run bedding (or is called litter in the run?). How many inches deep would you have the mulch?

I'd like to only replace the mulch every few months. I add a bag EZ Coop Refresher every week so I'm hoping between that and a deep enough layer of mulch the run will stay odor free. (Very important, we live in an urban setting.)

Thank you for any advice you can offer!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
a local tree company is going to deliver mulch to use as run bedding (or is called litter in the run?).
Will they dump a big pile where it can sit out of the way until you need it?

How many inches deep would you have the mulch?
Just a couple inches should do the trick.
Don't go too deep in run with freshly chipped trees/branches/leaves,
it can be rather wet and cause mold blooms.

I'd like to only replace the mulch every few months.
Depending on how big your run is, you shouldn't ever have to replace it,
just add another inch or so.
Dimensions and pics of your run might help here.

I add a bag EZ Coop Refresher every week so I'm hoping between that and a deep enough layer of mulch the run will stay odor free.
The wood should render the poops odor free pretty quickly,
and no need to spend that much for zeolite.
Bigger bags available for much less money in the horse aisle.
 

3KillerBs

Crowing
11 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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For my in-town chickens' run I used a mix of wood shavings, straw, pine straw, fall leaves, and whatever other compost browns came to hand.

I would put down 4-6 inches, depending on how fluffy the substance was, and let it be until it seemed to need refreshing. Intermittently I'd throw a few handfuls of scratch in to encourage the chickens to dig it up and stir it up. If necessary I'd use my manure fork to break up any crusted areas or loosen packed areas (a mix of materials doesn't pack as readily as a single material does (straw is the worst for packing)).

If it seemed to have broken down too much, if it got too wet due to excessive rain, or it developed the first hint of an odor I'd add another layer of bedding.

I only cleaned it out when the pile got inconveniently high or I wanted compost for my garden and never had any odor problems.

I will note, however, that I live in a warm climate where freezing never stopped the composting action of the deep litter and that my soil is sand so I never had drainage problems.
 

blackdog043

Crowing
Feb 19, 2017
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Charlotte, NC
What @aart said in post #2

If it starts to smell or draw flies add more mulch. Clean it out if it gets to deep for you. You can use it for planters or in a garden, if you have one, add it in the fall.
No need to add EZ coop refresher in the run when you use mulch. Use a little sweet PDZ stall refresher (cheaper, same stuff)) mixed into the bedding inside the coop, if you want to.

I add yard/garden waste to my run also.
20171126_121131.jpg
 

ObiHenKanobi

In the Brooder
Jul 1, 2020
47
21
23
Thank you for all the information everyone! Really appreciate it. Going to switch to the horse version of EZ Coop Refresh and put a few inches down, we'll see how it goes! We live in Northern VT so ~ 6 months of out the year it will be freezing temps.
 

ObiHenKanobi

In the Brooder
Jul 1, 2020
47
21
23
Down where?
It really isn't needed with the wood chips in the run.
Most of us here use PDZ on the poop boards under the roosts.
I meant I would switch to putting some PDZ down occasionally instead of the EZ Coop Refresh. I'm just very worried about any odor since we live in an urban setting and have neighbors.
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
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Georgia
As others mentioned be really careful with fresh tree trimmings/wood chips. The county was trimming trees last fall and I asked them to dump their truck in my yard for the garden. It grew a LOT of mold over the winter. That would NOT be good for the chickens, plus it has a lot of sharp pieces of wood in it.
 

ObiHenKanobi

In the Brooder
Jul 1, 2020
47
21
23
As others mentioned be really careful with fresh tree trimmings/wood chips. The county was trimming trees last fall and I asked them to dump their truck in my yard for the garden. It grew a LOT of mold over the winter. That would NOT be good for the chickens, plus it has a lot of sharp pieces of wood in it.
Oh good to know! Gosh I am so torn. Maybe what I'll do is put a thin layer down in the run and let the sun beat on it for a week or two before pudding any more down? My run gets a lot of afternoon sun.

The only other place I have found to get non-cedar mulch was a garden center, but they charged $90/square foot vs $15/square foot for the tree mulch from the tree service. That's a huge price difference!
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,091
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Georgia
Oh good to know! Gosh I am so torn. Maybe what I'll do is put a thin layer down in the run and let the sun beat on it for a week or two before pudding any more down? My run gets a lot of afternoon sun.

The only other place I have found to get non-cedar mulch was a garden center, but they charged $90/square foot vs $15/square foot for the tree mulch from the tree service. That's a huge price difference!
The stores here sell bags of pine shavings pretty cheap. Not sure how big your run is but most people leave the plain soil along with any grass/weeds. The birds really like to have contact with the ground to dust bathe and scratch.
 

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