How to Maintain Stationary Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mhschafer, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. mhschafer

    mhschafer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2012
    Hi BYC Forum!

    We started with chickens last spring. We currently have 15 laying hens (Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds), and they've been living in a small house that used to be a pump house. We penned in a yard for them so they can go outside. They have seemed very happy and have laid very well.

    However, as you might imagine, every last smidgen of grass was dead and gone by the end of last summer. Now we throw in some hay for them when there is no snow. But we're wondering how we might still use their yard this year. I don't know if grass will grow there given the harsh quality of their manure. Should we have an alternate coop this year and let the grass grow back? Do any of you have stationary (non-moveable) coops and how do you handle this problem?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    It is just natural for all the grass in a chicken run to die. I put sand in my runs after that, and the chickens love it. I like it because I just rake it out daily, and so it stays really nice and doesn't get stinky.

    You can use a kitty litter scoop and get all the poo, and then take a garden rake and rake it up real good to sort of fluff up the sand.

    Or you can use a leaf rake and rake up the poo into a pile if you have lots of chickens, get rid of the poo pile and then you just use your garden rake again to loosen the sand and fluff it up.

    The only other thing I can think of is to make your run twice as big, and then divide it in half, using one half at a time to let your chickens out. Then the empty half can regrow it's grass again. You an just alternate sides. If you're going to do this, you definitely have to make sure you rake up the chicken poop so that the soil will support the grass growing back.

    Hope this helps,
  3. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Once they kill off the grass it takes quite a long while for it to grow back. My run is sand. I am lucky in that my run is in the old location of my kids swingset. The wife insisted on 12" of sand for the swingset because she read some article about kids getting hurt on grass! I said hogwash I grew up with a swingset on grass and I am ok, but I obviously lost that battle. However, we are really getting our use out of all that sand. I use a leaf rake and rake ours out about once a month. Since we free range everyday all day long it doesn't really require much upkeep at all.
  4. Rich Marshall

    Rich Marshall Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 27, 2011
    What kind of sand do you guys use? Any preference?
  5. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Growing anything in the run is a pipe dream. I even tried the chicken salad platform.

    Now, I use leaves in the run which is abundant on my property. With the chickens keep turning them, the leaves do a good job breaking down the poops. Maintenance is low and mostly replenish the leaves. On dry days, it is virtually oder free. On wet days, there is some "farm freshness" in the air but you need to be at the vicinity to notice it.

    A friend used wood chips (ones that comes out from the wood chipper, not store-bought, we are all about recycle and re-purpose) with similar result.

    Sand (ordinary sand would do) in the coop. Scoop clean every day. No oder and love it.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  6. mhschafer

    mhschafer Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2012
    Thanks for your replies! I hadn't thought of using sand.

    Do any of you use sand not only for the run but inside the coop (instead of, for instance, wood shavings)?

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