Material for Chicken Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by leddy, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. leddy

    leddy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2014
    NW Oregon
    My Coop
    My husband and I recently purchased a home that already had a beautiful hand-built chicken coop and run! So far, we are loving having chickens - they are hilarious and boy do they have personality!

    Anyways, we live in Oregon. The rainy season is upon us and I'm finding that the nice dirt run that was perfect for the hot, hot summer we had, might not be the best for rainy Oregon - we have poop/mud slick galore! The girls don't like it at all either since their feet get stuck in some of the really bad places. The previous owners would throw down some bedding straw, but I'm finding that's creating a bigger mess.. Maybe cedar shavings would be better?

    We are thinking we would like to dig out the dirt, put a few inches of pea-gravel down and then put some river sand or contractors sand down. Since we got that idea in our heads, I've been researching and have found there are differing opinions on sand in the run. Some people seem to have used sand for years with no issues to their flock, whilst others have posted articles about sand harboring bacteria that could be harmful. I'm wondering what would be the best immediate plan of action because unless there's a good dry spell to dry out all that mud, we won't be getting sand in till spring. Any thoughts would be fantastic!!

    Thank you in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Pottstown, PA
    There are lots of articles on this site about using sand to stop the mud. It does work and any health concerns are no more than with the mud. Don't bother digging out the dirt/mud, just add sand on top of that. You might want to put wood around the bast to hold it in. Elevated sand beds are the best, the water drains easily out onto the surrounding ground.

    Now, if the land lays in such a way that surface water runs into your run, then you're gonna have a lot of trouble.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. tracecom

    tracecom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Four inches of mulch on top of the dirt works for me, and the chicks love it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Hows the drainage in the area? Reducing flow into the run can really help, if that's an issue.

    How big is your run?

    Posting a few pics of the run and surrounding area might help folks make suggestions.

    An oft lauded article on muddy runs.
     
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  5. leddy

    leddy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2014
    NW Oregon
    My Coop
    These are the best photos I have of our set up right now:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The run is uncovered and as far as drainage goes, it actually isn't bad at all - no serious pool spots. The problem I'm facins is that: 1. it's uncovered for the most part (the back part under the house is covered but that's where their food and water is located so it's kind of cramped for all 7 of them to hangout if they don't want to be in the coop) & 2. it's just dirt.. well, mud now.

    We've been playing with a few different ideas on how to make the run a better place during the winter because this particular setup works fine during the summer. I usually just cover half of the run so the girls aren't cooking in the sun, but can still enjoy the rays if they so choose.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you get snow there? Maybe just put a tarp over the run.
    Or use those plastic panels to roof it over? You'd have to do a little structural work for the panels to be angled so water runs off of them and maybe a gutter.

    Few inches of sand might help, but they do dig in pretty deep and you'd need to put some boards along the edges to hold the sand.
     
  7. leddy

    leddy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2014
    NW Oregon
    My Coop
    We don't get too much snow here - sometimes in January we'll get a light dusting but we are pretty much at valley level, so, not enough to make a difference. We get A LOT of rain though. Good idea with the plastic panels - we're still thinking about that since the girls really seem to love playing in the rain since they have cover under the coop if they decide they've had enough.

    Thanks again for your thoughts!! [​IMG]
     
  8. sunnypooh

    sunnypooh Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 4, 2014
    We find that putting a roof over the run helps in the winter. You can pick up clear plastic corrugated roof pieces from the local hardware store. They come in different lengths and it'll keep most of the run dry. I just lay them on top of each other and remove them in the summer or when not needed and lean them against a shed wall.

    Be careful with cedar. They're not good for chickens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. leddy

    leddy Out Of The Brooder

    14
    1
    31
    Aug 12, 2014
    NW Oregon
    My Coop
    My husband actually just put a roof on the run this last weekend which is helping a lot in keeping the run dry. Now we are experiencing a coldsnap and I'm wondering if I should make any additional adjustments to ensure our girls are kept warm. We have 7 girls alltogether: x2 Rhode Island Reds, x2 sex links, x1 Buff Orpington, x1 white leghorn, x1 Bantam - all of which I think are "cold hearty" birds. Any suggestions are great!
     

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