Well, I'm one year into having chickens. The oldest flock (1 yr.olds) consisted of 8 large breeds, 3 Cochin's and 4 ducks. I started out using wood mulch and shavings, then covering with straw as it became necessary. This is in an 18x25' chicken yard with two pre-built coops (of which all the ladies decided to roost in only one!). I thought I was doing a good thing - there we as no smell, no bugs,etc. Then, a windy wet winter and spring - omigosh. We just spent the past two days pitchforking out ALL the litter, down to dirt. (The chickens has the yard down to dirt originally pretty fast!) Saturday night I got to thinking a out it - what do you use mulch for? Keeping down weeds and retaining moisture! Good gosh, between the shavings, mulch, straw and leftover scratch (my pet sitter thought it would be easiest to dump half a bag out a couple of times), we had essentially a type of silage, and a whole lot of stink! After literally scraping it down with the tractor and a blade, I sprinkled the entire area with DE. Today I'm headed to get my first truckload of sand to put down. I will be using sand in my new 12x14' coop on the floor as well. Some hard lessons learned - luckily all my chickens are in good health, and I'm getting ready to introduce this year's batch of 36 ~4 month old pullets so that everyone can use the new coop. Oh, and the new yard adds an additional 18x20' or so, with a big row of thornless blackberries in between! See some pictures below Any comments and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated!