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Ideal Surface?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ElaineS, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. ElaineS

    ElaineS New Egg

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    Nov 27, 2016
    Hi,

    I'm a first time hen owner, I got 4 hens back in March.

    I have a coop with a small run which they sleep in at night, but they have the full use of my garden from morning until night.
    It's really well secured and predator free.

    To roughly describe my garden, there are 2 grass patches, each measuring approx 18ft x 18ft, on either side, with a concrete path down the centre of those 2 patches with another strip of concrete at the bottom of the garden beside the entrance to my home.

    After many months with the hens, the grass is now just mud, and at this time of year in Ireland, it's very wet out too.

    My question is, is it bad for my hens to always be walking on either concrete paths or soggy mud? Will it have any negative impact on their feet?

    Any advice would be appreciated if this turns out to be an unsuitable surface for them!
     
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Having them on mud isn't good for a host of reasons. And if they have it down to mud now, safe to assume grass isn't coming back with them running around on it. Wet concrete isn't much better and messy to boot.

    Best surface for them is a deep layer of coarse mulch. By deep, I'm thinking 4 to 6 inches. It will be wet or at least moist down at the soil line, but up above where the birds are, wet while it is raining, but soon after it stops the surface layer quickly dries out. Their droppings will be flushed down below where it will start working with the moisture and air to start breaking down the mulch layer. So you keep adding more mulch to it as time goes on.

    The mulch layer can be anything from large chips of wood or bark, wood chips......miscanthus grass bedding or any coarse grass hay or bedding, plus tree leaves, etc.

    Later on, if you want to refresh or remove the mulch layer, gardeners will find it to be a potent source of black gold to add fertility and organic matter to their gardens.
     

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