Newbie needs help with run material...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TracyLK, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. TracyLK

    TracyLK Out Of The Brooder

    70
    0
    39
    Apr 15, 2011
    My 10 hens have been out in their 8 feet wide by 24 feet long run for a little over a month and it is starting to smell already and attract a lot of flies. The run is mainly dirt and is hard to scoop up their poop. I was wondering if I could put a large wood sand box in to help alleviate part of the problem. Would this be safe for them? What type of sand to use? Could they bathe in it and eat it? They are currently just getting mediated chick feed. Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. colebarnhart

    colebarnhart Chillin' With My Peeps

    That sounds like a great idea, you might want to make the whole thing a giant sand box. Playground sand will work and yes they can eat it and bathe in it. I'm in the process of building my 2nd coop and I'm debating the sand thing myself. I like the idea a lot, just wonder about the temps where I live and how much it retains the heat and the cold.
     
  3. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    My girls are in a 10' x 24' pen and we rarely have issues with flies and never any smell. Is it really hot and humid where you are? Maybe that's the issue.
     
  4. TracyLK

    TracyLK Out Of The Brooder

    70
    0
    39
    Apr 15, 2011
    Quote:Perfect! I will try this out! Thank you [​IMG]
     
  5. TracyLK

    TracyLK Out Of The Brooder

    70
    0
    39
    Apr 15, 2011
    Quote:It has been grossly hot and humid where I live. Maybe that is the problem [​IMG]
     
  6. Honeysucklefeathers

    Honeysucklefeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    290
    2
    103
    Jul 19, 2011
    western KY
    Really hot and humid here. I put about 1/3 bale(round) of hay in my run and have been forking it off into the run. Chickens love it and they stir it around and break it up so it sorta absorbs the smell. Going to clean it out in the spring and compost it. Run is 12x20 with 9 hens and a roo. Same idea as deep liter which I use inside the coop. Works great [​IMG]
     
  7. ctbagley

    ctbagley Out Of The Brooder

    56
    5
    30
    Dec 11, 2009
    Hickory NC area
    Your best bet is to do a "deep litter" run. You will need to buy quite a bit of material but once it is done, it is very easy to keep up. You want about 8 to 10 inches of litter in the coop. Litter consists of the following: plain topsoil, pine shavings and sand. You want to have about 30% soil, 50% shavings (we get the compressed packages at TSC, they are not dusty) and playground sand. Don't scrimp on the amount of litter. The key to it working is that it is so deep that the chickens constantly scratch and turn it and it never gets too wet or poopy in one area. Mix the three items together and make one corner of the run a sandbox/soil/fireplace ash mixture alone and it will be where they can go take dust baths which keeps them clean and happy! It was a little expensive to do our 10 x 20 run, but now we only have to add to it once every three months a few bags of soil, a couple shavings and occasionally more sand. I also add diatomaceous earth to their sandbox area. It will help with mites and flies too. Only use food grade diatomaceous earth...google search it.

    Of course, you will need to put in little platforms for the feed and waterers to keep the litter out of them...we use pallets. Good luck!
     
  8. TracyLK

    TracyLK Out Of The Brooder

    70
    0
    39
    Apr 15, 2011
    Quote:Thanks! I have to read about the deep litter method. You like it? By the way, I saw your signature and have always wanted a Newfoundland. I have 3 dogs already though, but tempted to get one. I heard they are gentle giants. [​IMG]
     
  9. Honeysucklefeathers

    Honeysucklefeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    290
    2
    103
    Jul 19, 2011
    western KY
    Quote:Thanks! I have to read about the deep litter method. You like it? By the way, I saw your signature and have always wanted a Newfoundland. I have 3 dogs already though, but tempted to get one. I heard they are gentle giants. [​IMG]

    He is a big, old baby! So sweet and loves everyone. We have a vacation cottage here on our farm and he is the official greeter, and main attraction [​IMG]

    Yes, deep liter method works great for me with the hay. Chickens love picking in it and it makes a great compost. We cut and bale our own so I originally tried it because it was here! Just keep adding to it till I get about 8 inches inside the coop for winter then scoop out in spring and start over again. Run is not that deep, probably 2 or 3 inches but it disappears faster with all the scratching [​IMG]
     
  10. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    17,601
    752
    416
    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Quote:The only time I have a problem with smell is when it is wet. I do try to keep things dry, but that is hard when it rains. I do have the runs covered.

    I put a 2'x2' box in the run and fill it with sand and DE for them to dust in.

    I put wood shavings on the floor of the run to help keep it dry. I also use straw which breaks down and I rake up and toss in the garden or use a mulch around trees. I also have some low areas in the yard and use the coop cleanings and run cleanings to fill them in.

    Of course you can dump as much sand in the run as you want but you will need to replace it from time to time since you'll lose some each time you clean the run.

    I wish you all the best,

    Rancher
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by