Mulching chicken run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jasmer, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2012
    I read an article in a chicken magazine my husband picked up the other day. The author toured many chicken hatcheries and small farms to get an idea of what they want to do when they get chickens, and came across a guy who mulched his chicken coop/run floor and grew wine mushrooms. It kept the smell down and wine mushrooms supposedly grow well on wood mulch, kill bacteria, and the chickens aren't too crazy about them so they don't eat them. The mushrooms are edible which is a bonus for the farmer.

    Has anybody tried mulching their chicken coop/run? Our coop is a repurposed shed the previous owners of our property put on the gravel driveway, and our soil is also crazy rocky and gravelly where we live. I don't know if we can realistically use the high gravel content in compost for our gardens and pasture, so I thought I would look into this mulching thing. We have rabbit manure anyway and can easily let the chickens free range in the garden area before we plant every year to cover the poop department anyway.

    How often do you have to clean out the mulch? If you grow fungus on it do you ever have to clean it if it's well ventilated and such? Would it be better to maybe lay down concrete or brick over the coop and run for easier shoveling and cleaning instead? Normally we don't have to clean it at all since the chickens free range, but I thought this sounded very interesting...
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    It seems to me that the chickens would turn the mulch over all the time preventing anything from growing for long.

    I put mulch in my run from time to time for the chickens to shred and turn under, but it won't last.

  3. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    We dump mulch from our flower beds into the chicken run when we replace it, but the chickens pretty much destroy it. They do love digging in it, but I wouldn't think mushrooms would stand a chance.
  4. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2012
    That's what I was thinking, I can't see how the mushrooms grow but according to the article they do.

    I looked into mulching the chicken coop/run a little bit ago after posting this, though. Do you guys mulch your runs at all? I read that a nice 6" layer of loose mulch helps keep odor down and might not need cleaned as frequently. What do you think?
  5. David LaFerney

    David LaFerney Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2013
    My roofed run is mulched with fall leaves - about a ft and a half in oct have become about 6 inches now. It keeps it clean and odor free and gives them something to do. You generaly don't notice any poop at all. Clean run=clean chickens=clean eggs.
  6. babalubird

    babalubird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2008
    I remember reading an arti le on the mushrooms in the coop. The guy gave the mushrooms a little while to get starte before letting chi kens in. Then he coveredit with some kind of wire to keep the chickens.from destroying the main "root system" (can't remember proper term). Then he covered all that with another layer of mulch or.growing medium. Think the mushrooms he used are called King.something or.another.
  7. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Do you just put in the whole leaves (not leaf vac'ed/chopped up)?

    Interesting idea about the wine mushrooms.
  8. eleaserek

    eleaserek Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    Billings, MT
    So I know this thread is kinda old, but I'm hoping you can still answer my you just dump all the leaves in at once? Don't the chickens like disappear? Lol. I just have this mental image of nothing but chicken heads being visible in the run!! I'm putting serious thought into using leaves for the run this fall, just curious how it all works :) thanks!
    1 person likes this.
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    I gather them with my riding mower so they are shredded. Small batches from raking out flower beds get dumped in the run whole. The different textures keep things from matting down.

    This year I'm going to wait for a crisp dry day to gather the leaves with the mower so I can bag them up to use over the winter. I don't want the bags to get moldy though, so if I set the mower deck as high as it goes I shouldn't pick up any grass so shouldn't have to dry it in the sun before bagging.

    When I started doing deep litter method in the run this spring I added a bunch of last year's leaves from the pile in the woods. It was a mix of whole and shredded leaves. The chickens eventually shred them all.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  10. David LaFerney

    David LaFerney Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 20, 2013
    I put the leaves in all at one time, and it's a little fluffy at first but the chickens don't have any problem dealing with it.
    1 person likes this.

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