How to make run more fun?

angie_02

Chirping
Jun 2, 2017
67
18
71
Hi!
I'm looking for things to add to my chickens run to make it more fun. It's pretty plain right now, just grass. Should they have places to perch and roost? Things to lay in/under for shade? Entertainment? It may sound like a silly question but I'm genuinely wondering if there are some things I could add to give my chickens more to do out there! Also, any good tips for cleaning/maintenance of coops and runs? How often should runs be completely cleaned out? Is the grass okay or should I put straw or hay down? Also what is best for inside the coop and nesting boxes? Sorry for all the questions! Pictures would be great along with the ideas for runs! Thanks to everyone in advance!
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
78
216
Olympia WA
That must a new run! if you still have grass.. unless the run is huge, the grass will not last.

I have used wood chips in my run for years and am very happy with them. I get them for free from tree trimmers. The chickens scratch around in them, and eventually I clean them out and throw them on the garden, replace with new chips. How often depends on size of run and number of hens (for me, about 2 times a year) Straw or hay gets wet and smelly unless it stays completely dry.

Things for entertainment is a great idea. Lots of perches, they will get used. A cabbage head hanging down on a wire for them to peck. Piles of greens or hay to pick through (as grass will be gone soon...). Piles of leaves in the fall and winter (throw some scratch in them also). Rotted logs for them to pick over. A sandbox for dust baths, etc...
 

trueblue8364

Chirping
Oct 18, 2016
39
87
69
Dallas
Take a head of cabbage, put a rope through it and hang it up. They will go nuts for it. I have a lot of wooden wire spools sitting in mine. They shade under them and jump up on them and play king of the castle. As far as cleaning, i go more by smell. When the straw stops doing it's job of absorption, It just yells "time to clean me". Biggest tip- cover the bottom of the coop with diatemetrous earth before laying down straw/hay. If you haven't read about it you should. It's natural and it kills off mites lice bugs and other nasties. Makes a huge difference. Especially for those breeding.
 

chicks are life

Songster
Feb 11, 2016
1,275
566
191
North carolina
They love roosts they will perch and groom themselves till there content. I like to hang stuff like lettuce or throw a handful of treats for them to find.

I use wood chips for the run and pine flakes for the coop and nesting boxes.
Its cleaned out when the ground is like all wet and dirty...there is no cleaning schedule just when it needs it.

Sand for the run good too you can make a cleaning tool using a scoopy thing for horses stalls and wrap small holed wire around and shift the sand daily or what ever that also provides a hugedust batheing spot.

Dust bathes are NEEDED to prevent mites. Ifyou have a raised coop yoiu cab place sand under it and wrap chicken wire around it and connect it to you run for a dust bathe also

How many chickens do you have?
How many hens and roosters?
Are you planing on adding to your flock?
How old are they?
 

angie_02

Chirping
Jun 2, 2017
67
18
71
That must a new run! if you still have grass.. unless the run is huge, the grass will not last.

I have used wood chips in my run for years and am very happy with them. I get them for free from tree trimmers. The chickens scratch around in them, and eventually I clean them out and throw them on the garden, replace with new chips. How often depends on size of run and number of hens (for me, about 2 times a year) Straw or hay gets wet and smelly unless it stays completely dry.

Things for entertainment is a great idea. Lots of perches, they will get used. A cabbage head hanging down on a wire for them to peck. Piles of greens or hay to pick through (as grass will be gone soon...). Piles of leaves in the fall and winter (throw some scratch in them also). Rotted logs for them to pick over. A sandbox for dust baths, etc...
Sadly I figured the grass wouldn't last:( it's a shame because it's a lit of clover and they really love it.
 

angie_02

Chirping
Jun 2, 2017
67
18
71
Take a head of cabbage, put a rope through it and hang it up. They will go nuts for it. I have a lot of wooden wire spools sitting in mine. They shade under them and jump up on them and play king of the castle. As far as cleaning, i go more by smell. When the straw stops doing it's job of absorption, It just yells "time to clean me". Biggest tip- cover the bottom of the coop with diatemetrous earth before laying down straw/hay. If you haven't read about it you should. It's natural and it kills off mites lice bugs and other nasties. Makes a huge difference. Especially for those breeding.
Thanks for the advice, I'll be picking up some diatomaceous earth for tomorrow when we clean everything out.
 

angie_02

Chirping
Jun 2, 2017
67
18
71
They love roosts they will perch and groom themselves till there content. I like to hang stuff like lettuce or throw a handful of treats for them to find.

I use wood chips for the run and pine flakes for the coop and nesting boxes.
Its cleaned out when the ground is like all wet and dirty...there is no cleaning schedule just when it needs it.

Sand for the run good too you can make a cleaning tool using a scoopy thing for horses stalls and wrap small holed wire around and shift the sand daily or what ever that also provides a hugedust batheing spot.

Dust bathes are NEEDED to prevent mites. Ifyou have a raised coop yoiu cab place sand under it and wrap chicken wire around it and connect it to you run for a dust bathe also

How many chickens do you have?
How many hens and roosters?
Are you planing on adding to your flock?
How old are they?
If I used sand for the run, it's okay? They won't ingest it and it won't cause issues? Also, right now I have 6 chickens all around 3/3.5 months. Pretty sure they're all hens and we're looking into getting some more chicks to raise, with one rooster to protect the flock.
 

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