New Coop and Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RVAChicken87, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. RVAChicken87

    RVAChicken87 New Egg

    Apr 11, 2016
    Hi folks.

    I just want to say that this website has been absolutely vital to my family starting our own backyard flock. Great to see so many people coming together to help each other.

    My question has probably been asked 1,000 times, but I want to put it out there. We just finished building our first coop today for our two Black Australorps. It's completely covered 4' x 8'. The run and coop have great protection from the elements - rain and moisture should not be an issue. My question is what do people recommend for a run floor? I have read about using construction sand (I have also read about droppings being mistake for food when covered with sand...really?), wood chips, pine shavings, and leaving it bare earth.

    Currently we live in the suburbs with very accepting neighbors that have done nothing but encourage our project. I grew up with chickens that were free range on my family's land so space confinement and the inevitable smell was never in question. Squeezing chickens into a backyard is a new concept and I would like to keep my neighbors happy as well make this a very successful and a fun family endeavor. Our two birds will remain in the run during the weekdays while we are at work and then released to range for the remaining 2-3 hours of the day.

    So, what type of flooring would you recommend for ease of cleaning, flock health, and minimal smell?
  2. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2016
    Southwest Virginia
    Virtually any ground covering would likely be okay for just a pair of birds, but everyone uses their coverings differently. I compost in my chicken run so use a mix of materials - grass clippings, wood chips, garden scraps, dried leaves. The chickens work the compost faster than I could ever dream of doing and in exchange for getting to pick through the grass clippings and garden scraps, I get a great supply of compost for my garden and trees. If you have room for a garden (and don't have one yet) I'd encourage you to try one - even a single raised bed if nothing else. My run also occasionally gets litter from my coop where I use deep litter of some shavings, occasional straw, herbs (that I grow and mix into the bedding), and other random organics materials (many the same as what's in the run) - this just mixes with the composting in the run and all is well. No mess, no smell (coop is 40ish feet from my house) - a win/win for me and my birds.

    Some people like sand, and essentially use their coop and run like a giant litter box - basically spot cleaning chicken waste from the sand daily. I've limited experience using sand (it seemed like too much work for me with numerous birds - it might be perfect with just a pair of hens), but enough people use it to give merit.

    Shavings is what I used in the beginning and it's still a portion of my deep litter mix. I used shavings only in the coop and used a bare earth run at the time. I had no complaints and only switched over to wood chips because I began playing around with wood chip gardening and wanted to utilize my birds energy as a benefit to my gardens and soil building efforts in the new medium.
  3. 7littlegirls

    7littlegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2015
    Long Island NY
    Hi! I am one who uses sand in my coop and in their run. I am guessing my run has been newly expanded to about 16x20. I have 7 hens. When I go out in the morning to let them out of the coop I grab my little rake and pan (found at either Home Depot or Lowes) and I rake up the poop in the coop and run. I do this every morning, does not take long at all (10-15 min). I like having clean eggs, most of the time anyway. And my yard is not smelly :thumbsup

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