Is fresh gardening soil from store okay for run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickster88, May 1, 2008.

  1. chickster88

    chickster88 In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    Hi guys:
    A question about runs from a newbie: I built up the run for my new trio of chicks-almost-chickens with bags of composted sheep manure and additional bags of triple mix on top b/c I thought I was going to plant the run with grass and native wildflowers.

    The chicks grew faster than planned and are now outside a couple weeks sooner than I'd anticipated, plus, I've since heard that they would have destroyed the plants and grass even if they had had a chance to grow.

    But my question is: the natural dirt there in the run was hardpacked clay-ish dirt, and now it's this soft gardening soil-type, although still relatively firm. (Like, I would not be planting plants into it--it's not soft enough for that.) Is this okay, or should I be adding in sand to make it more "dirt-y" and less "garden soil-y"???

  2. WikkitGateFarm

    WikkitGateFarm In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2008
    Pickaway County, Ohio
    Wow! Take that nice soil out and put it in a flower bed, then take the clay from the flower bed and put it under the chickens! The birds won't care what they're walking on, digging in, and generally tearing up as long as it's not muddy. The plants will appreciate the difference though.
  3. CUDA

    CUDA Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    You don't need to do anything special for the ground of your run. The chickens won't care, trust me.
  4. sBrickmanHouse

    sBrickmanHouse Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    I'm with WikkitGateFarm! Take that nice garden soil out of the run, and leave it bare clay. The chickens will scratch and tamp it into hard clay in no time anyway-- don't waste good garden soil.

    Our run is under some heavy shade trees, where nothing much grows anyway (part of the reason we chose that site for the run-- we had no plants to lose!), but any hint of green, be it a weed or a patch of moss, was obliterated in a matter of days.

    The run's hard packed dirt now, and even when we throw table scraps and weeds from our garden in there, the girls devour them in a matter of hours, no matter how large the pile, and there's no trace of them left.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm with everyone else - for heaven's sake don't waste good gardening-quality soil on chickens [​IMG]

    But if the clay in their run bothers you, getting mucky in wet weather, put some sand or roadbase or gravel in the run. That will help.

  6. Anny

    Anny Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    The chickens will make the soil better they don't need any fancy soil, they can do it them selfs :)

    The harder ground will give them a challenge and keep them entertained I'm sure.
  7. stilwellchick

    stilwellchick Songster

    Jun 16, 2007
    Stilwell, KS
    Some gardening soil contains chemical fertizilers, not sure if that is good for them. They will have their run made into great dirt in no time. Then you can add sand, pine shavings or straw if you like.
  8. Anny

    Anny Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    just wondering, what does adding sand do for the run? Does it help dry it up?
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Yep, helps with drainage.
  10. stilwellchick

    stilwellchick Songster

    Jun 16, 2007
    Stilwell, KS
    Yes, some people use it to dry it up and make it easy to rake poo out. My run is covered and I use pine shavings in the big bags, used for horse stalls. The hens keep it turned over by scratching it all the time and I just add more to it when it gets kind of packed into the ground. Usually it stays nice and fluffy out there and I use it in my hen house too. Always smells fresh out there. You can read about deep litter method if you do a search.

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