Need help from West Coasties on run floor materials

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by capow21, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. capow21

    capow21 In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2012
    I live in Oregon near the coast. I went on vacation for a couple of weeks and while I was gone the lovely rain finally showed up. The run was nothing but mud when I returned.

    Here is my 4x10 tractor for my nine hens and roo. You can have a look, so I don't have to go into great detail describing the situation.


    I went and bought corrugated clear plastic roofing from the local hardware store and put it around the run. Like usual, they didn't carry exactly what I wanted. I had to go with the 28" instead of the 30-something. So, now the bottom 4-5" can still get rain blown into it, but I thought leaving that open might be okay, ventilation wise. Or, should I close up the bottom few inches also?

    What do you use in your run? If you don't live where it rains much, but want to give your thoughts, go ahead. Basically where I live, it will rain at least 20 days of the month until May. We get high winds (hence the tie downs on the coop). Each winter we see two or three storms with 100 mph winds and 12+ inches of rain fall, flooding, no power, etc. Basically "Sandy" is a normal thing for us here.

    Anyway, I've read sand, straw, woodchips, etc. But, what works best for rain? There's no way I'm going to use pine shavings. They would be wet within an hour or so.

    Oh, I suppose I should add this info as well. When we get rain that doesn't stop for at least 36 hours (which is often in winter/spring) the yard can't keep up and water basically just sits on top of the entire property and it sounds like a sponge when you walk on it. So, my thoughts are that the ground inside the run will eventually absorb water from the ground outside of the run as well. Here is a photo to show an example:

    There's no standing water like this inside the run, but you know the ground in the run is absorbing it, so that's partial to why it's still muddy in there after I put the plastic around the run.

    I live near a river and in the summer I use sand in the coop. I let it dry out first. For fall, winter and spring I am doing the Deep Litter Method inside the coop though. Should I build up the run floor a bit with river sand and then put straw on top of the sand and change out the straw? How long will straw last before needing to change it?

    Also, the next ten days is pretty much all rain, so the river sand will be wet and have no time to dry before going in. Is wet sand better than mud at least?

    Rain is such a pain. The chickens seem to not mind it that much (surprised me). If it's raining hard they run back to the coop if I've let them out, but light to moderate rain they don't seem to mind running around in.
  2. cknkids

    cknkids Chirping

    Jun 27, 2012
    Camarillo, CA
    I vote for the wet river sand. I'd rather be on wet sand then in mud. you might consider putting a base of rocks for elevation and drainage with sand on top. You might also put in some logs for the chickens to get up on or install some roost in the run that keeps them up out of the wet. We have sand in our run and scoop it like kitty litter. Our girls free range most days so we get away with only scooping every couple of weeks, I see that lots of folks scoop daily. You may also want to check out
  3. capow21

    capow21 In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2012
    Thanks! That's what I'm thinking, I need to build it up with sand. I do the sand and kitty scoop method above, in the coop, in the summer time. It works very well, I love it, but of course it's completely dry. We'll give her a go downstairs. There's not really anything else I can do. I did read that article, just wanted to see if there were other options.

    I do have one roost in there, about five of them can fit on it. I will do the log thing (great idea), because there isn't room down there for another roost. I'm thinking I might put some gutters and downspouts on too.

    Thanks for your input.
  4. fyffer

    fyffer Hatching

    Sep 23, 2012
    Sooke B.C
    i live in bc on the west coast of Vancouver island so I know all about rain. I put play sand down. it keeps it dry and when it drys they love to roll around in it. They seem to really enjoy it. and since it is fine I treat it like a large litter box and scoop it out daily and never smells.
  5. Turkeytruff

    Turkeytruff Songster

    Aug 25, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    This sounds good. I live on the east side of Vancouver Island and as you know, the rain is pretty constant right now!
    Just to be clear, are you only putting sand down or are you adding anything on top of it? I use straw and deep litter and right now it's pretty sodden; I'm adding more on top and some scratch for them to spread it out for me [​IMG]
  6. capow21

    capow21 In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2012
    Thank you for your input. I too would like to know, do you use straw on top of the sand? I am contemplating the idea of using it on the sand, but I would like to know if it's worth it. How long it can be in there and be damp/wet before changing it out, etc.
  7. Smoochie

    Smoochie Songster

    Sep 18, 2012
    I live in on the west coast. I would put down drainage rock and then a layer of horse wood pellets (not soaked). Works great in my run.

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