mulch for the floor of my chicken run?


9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
Long Island NY
I'm almost finished with my run and was wondering if anyone out there has ever used mulch for the floor. I've heard about construction sand, shredded leaves, the pine shavings...but never heard anyone say that they use mulch. I have an 8' x 16' run that needs to be filled b/c I put 1/2" hardware cloth across the bottom to keep out rats, so I need to cover it all up with about 4 inches of something and I can get free mulch from the town. I know we shouldn't use cedar and I was told that the mulch is a combo of every kind of tree, so if there is any cedar in it, it won't be much.

I tried mulch and didn't like it. You can't easily clean out the droppings and mulch tends to retain moisture (which is why people use it in the garden in the first place). While retaining moisture is good for plants, it's not so good for odor control in a chicken run.

If your run is roofed and isn't someplace where rain can seep in from outside the run, you could give it a try and see how you like it under those circumstances.
I agree with elmo....Sand is the very best materials for your run.....and I've used so many different things! It's my favorite.
I have an 8'x16 run too on my main coop and I had a lot of tree work done and they chipped up trees so I have tree chippings (pine) everywhere.. so I just dumped a wheelbarrow full of the chippings (mulch) in the run.. Mine wasn't all wood chips but pine needles etc... and they loved pecking and scratching at it to see what they could find. I thought it was better than the dirt in there and gave them stuff to peck at. We are dry here and odor isn't a problem
Sand is my favorite also, and since you put hardware cloth down you might be carefull because chickens will scratch down 4 inches with ease. You might try to pack dirt on top of the cloth then put down whatever material you go with on top of that.
I've used the free mulch also and like it better than the mud when it rains. Like the previous poster said, the girls love digging in it. Lots of worms as it ages. Eventually they will turn it into good compost to be added to the pile.
Thanks for all your advice.

I guess the mulch will eventually turn into dirt, so if I put that down first and put sand over it, then the wire will be covered well. Unless the sand mixes with the dirt, with all the chicken scratching, and becomes even more of a mess?
I would think that mulch on sand would be better, you can rake it up when it gets dirty and put it in a compost heap.

I'm putting leaf debris in my chickens run that I just made. It still has grass. I figure when the grass dies/gets eaten, then I will put the sand in. I have a cover of the kennel but I think it will still get wet. I am sure I'm going to have to scoop some of the dirt up too, but it will be easier once the grass is gone.
I LOVE free wood chips. I let then sit until they dry out and then I put them in my covered run. Sprinkle stall dry from time to time and it works great for me in the rainy Pacific NW.

I just got a HUGE pile delivered today. Smells so good (douglas fir).

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