New chicken run question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Eporr, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. Eporr

    Eporr New Egg

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    I was raised with chickens and now 30 years later am ruining my children's lives with starting up again. I once heard my father say "the chickens are smarter than the $%[email protected]# boys" So I figured that raising some chickens would help me figure out how to be a better parents to my ^%#%@ kids.

    I am putting a run onto a coop that I bought from a neighbor, I've seen lots of photos of just bare ground and some photos of where people have put something down whether it be a concrete slab or rocks or whatever.

    I wanted to get others thoughts of putting something else down other than bare ground.
     
  2. frenchiegirl21

    frenchiegirl21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! and [​IMG]


    The flooring of your run is really a personal preference kind of thing. Some people use sand, some use dirt, some plant grass, some use concrete, some use rocks.... I have heard sand is the best for preventing flies because it dries the poop out so the flies cannot breed in it.
     
  3. Tillicans

    Tillicans Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello I live in Sydney Australia where our weather is very unpredictable, hence we have humid, wet summers and mild winters. I have my coop on a sloping land and on a dirt floor, not clay but quite compacted. I am using the DEEP,LITTER method and have placed over the top of the dirt some sand especially where it gets water the most for better drainage. Then I put some wood chips in and on top of that dried leaves from the garden and then on top of that sugar mulch. It rained heavy overnight so I am keen to see how the drainage went this morning.
    I found doing th DL method I don't get that strong ammonia smell, I also sprinkle D.E. around the coop. Hope that helps.
    Some people prefer to have concrete so they can hose it clean, my land does not allow for me to do that.
     
  4. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bare ground gets my vote, seems perfect for DLM, deep litter method you can do a search above. Find what works best for you and your climate the chickens probably will not care.

    Welcome to BYC

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The most critical thing about a run is location. If you put it where water drains to it or water stands in it you goofed bigtime. A wet coop or run is an unhealthy coop or run. Wet poop stinks. Chickens poop a lot so if it builds up to any density whatever it will stink when it gets wet. Location, location, location.

    The purpose of bedding is to act like a diaper, absorb moisture from poop so it doesn’t stink. It doesn’t matter if you use dirt, sand, wood shavings, wood chips, hay, straw, Spanish moss, dried leaves, or anything else. If it is in a pool of water it is not going to absorb any moisture. Your run needs to be able to drain.

    A lot of us don’t have a lot of options when it comes to where we put a run for many different reasons. You have to play the hand you are dealt. When I built my coop I hauled in some dirt and raised the floor level a few inches so rainwater runoff does not go inside, then use wood shavings as bedding. It stays dry.

    My run is on a high spot. It’s bare dirt. It still becomes a muddy mess when the weather sets in wet but it’s not that bad, I can easily live with it.

    Another issue is poop load. The more chickens you put in a small area, the more the poop builds up. Some people, especially in suburban backyards where space is tight, are out scooping poop on a daily basis to keep it from building up. I use a different approach, in addition to my main run I have a big area enclosed in electric netting and covered with grass in the growing season. In my climate, they spend practically all day every day in that grassy area, spreading the poop around. A whole lot of people don’t have the room to do that.

    Some people with small runs use some type of bedding and clean it out and replace it if it starts to smell.

    As you look through the forum you’ll see that a lot of different people do different things. If the run stays reasonably dry a whole lot of things work. If it stays wet not many will work or you have to work harder managing it.

    Some people use what they call the deep litter method in the coop or run. Basically that’s turning the run into a compost pile and let the chickens turn it for them. I don’t know if you have ever had a compost pile? If it is too dry the microbes and bugs that eat the stuff and turn it into compost can’t live. If a compost pile gets too wet it turns slimy and stinky. Your goal for moisture level is to have it a little damp. I’ve seen that ideal moisture level described as get a sponge wet then wring it dry. A compost pile can handle more moisture than that for a little while, but if it stays too wet too long it can become pretty bad. It needs to be able to drain. So does your run.

    I don’t care what you use as bedding. I like it to be inexpensive and readily available, but if you want to use something exotic go for it. You only live once, at least in this incarnation if you happen to be Buddhist. Just try to keep it dry or where it will drain fairly well. You’ll be better off whatever you use.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Tillicans

    Tillicans Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Ridgerunner. Yep, understand all those points and it is a dilemma being in Suburbia and a sloping block makes it difficult. Hubby is going to create a trench around the coop to offset the water, it doesn't flow constantly it's just muddy after a week of non stop rain, which is mainly in winter too.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Start with the grass (if it's there). When the grass is gone, which it will soon be, start adding deep litter: leaves, grass clippings, garden and yard debris, kitchen waste, spent litter from the coop, wood chips. Your goal will be to have that litter about 6" deep. It's helpful to put a border around the edge of the run to keep the birds from kicking out the DL. When I built my run, I put a perimeter of 2 x 6 around the base. That helps immensely.
     
  8. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    X 2 - this is the approach I take when setting up a new run. The grass is nice while it lasts and they enjoy it, but it is not going to last long (you can use screens, etc over the grass to protect from excessive scratching and some folks go so far as to grow portable pieces of grass that can be rotated in and out of the run to provide fresh, growing greens) -- I love a deep litter base in my run, the natural odor control and cycle of things being broken down just can't be replaced, imo.
     
  9. Tillicans

    Tillicans Out Of The Brooder

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    Ridgerunner, went down to inspect the coop/run just now it's been raining for the last 2 days not heavy but steady, so the coop/run area is completely dry, yeah the DL is working and the water must have flowed through the sand, what a relief. I think when we do the gravel around the perimeter of the coop it will also be a bonus. What a relief. I have about 6-8 inch of litter, good job.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    :thumbsup With your set-up working like that you are in great shape. And that compost will be great for your garden.
     

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