Need advice on floor of run

brneyes475

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 11, 2014
9
0
7
Cocoa, FL
I have some 4 week old EE chicks in my guest bedroom. My husband and I have virtually finished the coop and are about to build the outdoor run attached to the coop and I am looking for some advice.

I live in Central Florida....it gets really hot here but the coop and run are going to be under some giant oak shade trees so they won't bake in the sunshine. We also have a big fire ant problem. What do you guys recommend for the floor of the run? The area the run is going is currently bahia grass...so should we just leave that be or should we do something different like put down sand or gravel? I am looking for whatever will be the easiest to keep relatively clean.

Also, would you roof the run or just leave it open. It is going to be fully enclosed in chicken wire all around and above to protect them from the osprey and eagles we have around here.

Thanks in advance for your advice!!
 

olderoo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
58
8
38
Leesville sc
If you have grass now you won't for long. Odds are good you're going with the "recommended" 10sq ft/ bird for your run.

Plan on a deep litter of straw, sawdust, wood chips, leaves, etc. 4" minimum. l like pine straw in the SOUTH; it's plentiful. Leaves are nice for the compost pile
Keep the litter layered up at all times by adding to it as needed. Change it twice a year.

If you don't give them something but earth to live on, the birds will turn the grass into a dirt pit. Then they will defecate - a lot. Then it will rain. You can imagine the rest.

Roofing it is a good idea to keep off the FL rain.

I maybe come across as harsh with my terse comments. But most problems people have can be traced to poor waste management practices with confined birds. Cut the number of birds you plan to keep IN HALF and you'll have fewer troubles.
 
Last edited:

justoldbobo2

Songster
6 Years
Jun 10, 2013
365
65
176
Jena , Louisiana
I use pine straw and leaves in the bottom of my run and add some ash at times too. My run is covered with wire only for now. But my coop is raised so they can get under it for extra shade.
 

olderoo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
58
8
38
Leesville sc
Nice touch the wood ashes. And using the area under the coop smart thinking.

Another thing to consider is drainage. The OP will site the coop beneath a large oak - odds are good water doesn't stand there after a Florida rain. Dampness in any form is an enemy of good poultry health.

Likewise, coops should be airy and well ventilated. Shutting them up tight without adequate air flow is asking for respiratory problems.
 

ScouterJoe

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 24, 2011
48
4
24
I use pine straw and leaves in the bottom of my run and add some ash at times too. My run is covered with wire only for now. But my coop is raised so they can get under it for extra shade.
What is the purpose of adding ash? I assume it's clean wood ash right? What's it do for the birds?
 

CFLMOM

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
18
4
24
Im in palm bay and just now finishing up our coop and run. I think were gonna do pine shavings or some.kind of coarse sand. Not sure. Please post what you do. Interested in amy ideas.
Thanks
 

olderoo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
58
8
38
Leesville sc
The nice thing about organic litter is it can be replenished easily. Sand is harder to strip away and replace.
Keep in mind chickens when confined turn their area toxic. It's the extended confinement.
Sand reaches a saturation point.
Now organic deep litter OVER well drained sand is a great option.
 

CFLMOM

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
18
4
24
sorry im a total newbie to this, but what is organic material and where can you get it?? I dont want a muddy mess on bottom of my run. I have bahia as well but I am sure the chicks will destroy it.... Pine shavings????? Just like the person who started this thread we want to do whats best and learn from everyone elses experience. So thanks.:D
 

olderoo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
58
8
38
Leesville sc
sorry im a total newbie to this, but what is organic material and where can you get it?? I dont want a muddy mess on bottom of my run. I have bahia as well but I am sure the chicks will destroy it.... Pine shavings????? Just like the person who started this thread we want to do whats best and learn from everyone elses experience. So thanks.:D

When I say organic litter, I mean stuff for the chickens to walk on.
Traditional material is straw. Peanut hulls, crushed corn cob, chopped silage have been used. That is the kind of thing you are looking for. Your goal is to keep them at least 4" above the dirt.
For the backyarder, anything nontoxic you can rake up is worth considering. I like shredded leaves, grass clippings, straw, etc.

Chopped mulch is an option, when you can get it by the truck load. If you want to pay for pine shreds, it's a good option. Just avoid cedar.

You want at least 4" deep and rake it around once weekly. Feed the birds scratch grain in the litter, and they will root it around and help.
As it decomposes, the birds will eat the small bugs and micro organisms that develop. This gives them exercise and keeps them occupied.

The litter will "shrink" and require adding more, so just rake it over and add more on top. There is technically no limit to how high you can pile it, but about once a year you should replace it. Take the old "mattress" of old litter to the compost pile, lay down an inch or two of new sand and do it again.
 

CFLMOM

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
18
4
24
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am actually taking notes. I love the advice. I really want to do right by these birds. I dont want to do something thats going to create more work for me or a less then happy clean place for them.

Coop in progress. Getting there.....
 
Top Bottom