Is this sandy and rocky soil unfit for the run area of the coop?


6 Years
Aug 23, 2013
San Diego - Rancho Penasquitos
We have terrible soil. It is super rocky and the remaining soil is sandy. It packs down and is like a clay when it gets wet. I was thinking of putting leaves and wood shaving in the run area, but not enough to have it be super thick. It is up a steep high hill and everything we put in there needs to be haul by hand up the difficult hill. We live in San Diego with little rain here, so it shouldn't be rainy/wet for very long. Will the rocks be a problem on their legs and feet? What do you think?


You can see how steep the hill is from the last picture. That's our blue house at the bottom of the hill.
Putting leaves and wood shavings in the run will help with the quality of the soil. The chickens will shred all this and turn it under. It will require replenishment in order to maintain any sort of cover for the soil. Of course, that material is light and generally easy to move.

On the other hand, a load of sand to make a layer 4 - 6 inches deep will likely improve the soil more over time. It won't decompose. As the chickens turn it over and over, it will help loosen the extant soil by becoming integrated into it.

If you have to move this filler by hand, wood mulch might be the best bang for the buck. One to two inches. It will last longer than leaves and wood shavings.

It seems to me that your soil is not so rocky that the chickens will mind or suffer. You may be surprised to find how well the chickens can dig up the soil you have.

Going up to the coop everyday will make you strong from the climb.

If it's clay, you don't want to add sand.

I'd use mulch that will eventually break down and add organics to the soil.
Thanks for your ideas. I think the mulch might be a great idea. Would it make it hard for them to walk over? I never thought of mulch before, because it seemed like it would trip them up all the time. I guess that I could get the shredded type not the chopped type. Is that best?
My chickens wander through the trash wood pile and stacks of old corn stalks with grace. I would use single ground mulch, because it is readily available here at ~$15 a yard. When dry, it is easy to move in a wheelbarrow. I have it all around the area where my chickens forage. They like to dig in it for the bugs and worms.

If what is cheap, the shredded wood from a tree service truck would work well. Often, it is available for free if you happen to be in the right place. They will swing by and dump the whole truck, about 15 yards, right at your place. If you don't have a place for a mountain of shredded wood, this option is not for you.


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