Material for chicken run in suburban coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by adederich, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. adederich

    adederich Just Hatched

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    Oct 15, 2016
    Wisconsin
    Hello all,

    I recently moved my little leghorn off the family farm and to my new house in a chicken friendly surburban. We built her a new coop with attached run, but I need some help figuring out what material to use for the run to keep it dry, clean, and safe for 2-3 chickens. She was able to be free range at her old home, but here she must be kept in the coop due to neighborhood dogs. I will attach pictures of the coop and eagerly await suggestions. I have read about sand and the deep liter method. I dont know if either of these would work for such a small run. I have also been reading and getting mixed messages about sand usage and health on chickens. Thanks!! getting use to a new way of keeping chickens! Hoping to add on to the run once resources become available for my husband and I. [​IMG]

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  2. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure you'll get much feedback regarding people's preferences and what works for them! I have a suburban backyard coop too, with a small attached run like yours, and then we added a much larger (but not as secure) area where we let them out as well. We have about four inches of construction grade sand in the small attached run and I've been very happy with it. It stays fairly dry and stink free, and I can scoop it daily with a kitty litter scoop. When we've gone out of town (and haven't wanted to ask our tolerant Petsitter to scoop poop), I've just scraped off the top poopy inch or so when we get back and added to to compost pile, then refreshed. I'm planning on building up to deep litter in the larger run as time goes on. The sand in the coop is great from a maintenance standpoint, but it doesn't have much to interest them and encourage all those healthy scratching and foraging behaviors. Whatever you do, I'd let them have fun with the grass in the bottom until they've killed it all off. Might last a little while with 2-3 chickens! And very cute coop!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Might depend on where you live, climate can be important.
    Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.
    Also can depend on the specific site as well....if there is a drainage issue or the run is 'high and dry'.

    Personally dry(brown) plant matter is the best thing for runs no matter what the climate as it will help the poops break down and smell less.
    Doesn't have to be the literal 'deep' composting litter......just a few inches can do the trick nicely with a good mix of materials.

    Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992
     
  4. adederich

    adederich Just Hatched

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    Oct 15, 2016
    Wisconsin

    I live in Wisconsin, it's been a wet year, but that's not typical. I was hoping to use more of a loose dirt situation once she goes through the current grass. Do you have specific suggestions on what I can put in it to achieve that? Sand really doesn't appeal to me. Thanks !!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    If you are in Wisconsin, the one thing you have access to that will be invaluable to you is dried leaves! Yep, rake 'em, collect 'em, buy 'em if you have to! I have tried about everything (except sand) in varying degrees from time to time, but my hands-down favorite material for the bottom of the run and coop is autumn leaves! Store several bags of them where they'll stay dry, and all winter long you can just add more as you need to. Chickens just love digging and scratching in them, they break down nicely, they do a great job of keeping feet clean, and if you keep little twigs and such right in with the leaves as you dump them in the run, they don't pack down as much and add air spaces needed oxygen to aid in composting right in the run. Toss in whatever garden refuse you have - weeds, clippings, etc - for a good mix. And if you can get your hands on leaves of different trees, that makes it even better. The first year I used them I had only one kind of leaves - long, slender willows - and they tended to pack down because there was no variety in size or shape. Leaf litter makes for a soft landing pad, too!

    I've done pine shavings, (don't break down very well but do a super job of holding down odors), straw (warm, soft and comfy but the hollow stems can harbor mites and lice and they don't break down well either) hay (a total smelly, moldy, packed down mess) and I haven't found anything that works better than leaves and some garden trimmings. By the way, I'm in Northern Wyoming, so I like it when my chickens dig little hollows in the litter and make cozy nests to snuggle into on cold days.

    Welcome to BYC! Glad to have you!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  7. adederich

    adederich Just Hatched

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    Oct 15, 2016
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    Thank you!! We have leaves a plenty!!
     
  8. adederich

    adederich Just Hatched

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    Oct 15, 2016
    Wisconsin
    I was on a mobile so I was not able to access the link. I did read through the great thread earlier posted for muddy runs and found it helpful. Just hoping I can accomplish this in my small run! thank again for all the input! I appreciate the support.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Some of the limits of the mobile app...just make me sad...really changes the functionality effectiveness of a forum...SMH.
    Well, hopefully you have access to a real computer and can take advantage of links.
     

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