Part dirt floor in run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by HerculePoirot, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. HerculePoirot

    HerculePoirot Chirping

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    I have a huge run for my small five hen flock. Half is straw and the other half is dirt. The feeders are in the middle. It gets afternoon sun and is sheltered from predators and rain. I'm not sure the dirt is good for them or if maybe I should put straw all over. They've never free-ranged. Should I put sand down or sand and straw or what? Last week my son added some grass clippings to give them a treat. Our lawn is untreated.

    In the past couple of wet weeks I lost one of my older girls to egg peritonitis and my favorite, Mary Louise, this morning to what appears to be a heart attack (if what I read about dark red combs and some open mouth breathing is correct). I'm worried about the rest. And I'm at a loss. The coop is spotless, good food, snacks but not too many, oyster shells and fresh water.
     
  2. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch Day–6

    Plain dirt is great.
    Deep littler method is better, imo.

    You might find this recent post interesting:
    #1
     
  3. Fanci Feathers Marans

    Fanci Feathers Marans Chicken Tender

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    The thing about dirt is that it can turn to mud, which can lead to toe mud-balls. However, if it's dry, they can use it for dusting, which would be a plus.
     
  4. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Quail Hatch Day–6

    You should include a bowl/dish of grit if they are eating grass clipping...they have been known to cause impacted crop.
     
  5. HerculePoirot

    HerculePoirot Chirping

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    I usually use a half cabbage, or strawberries or watermelon or frozen bananas on hot days. Radish tops are favorites. I have scratch corn but not sure what other grains to offer. I'm wondering if I should try to get them to venture out of the run onto the lawn.
     
  6. jennyf

    jennyf Songster

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    How old are they? Sounds from your description like you are caring for them well.
     
  7. HerculePoirot

    HerculePoirot Chirping

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    I got them from Cackle Hatchery 3 years ago this time.
     
  8. Almost Acre

    Almost Acre In the Brooder

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    you can throw pretty much any organic material in the run. There's nothing wrong with plain dirt, but giving them something to dig thru/find bugs is even better. Plus when it decomposes, you can use it as compost.
     
  9. jennyf

    jennyf Songster

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    At that age some mortality likely isn't unexpected. Mine enjoy it when I turn the dirt over--it's amazing how they can pack it down. I'm sorry for your loss.
     
  10. HerculePoirot

    HerculePoirot Chirping

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    Jun 15, 2014
    My Mary Louise was my favorite hen ever. She'd talk my left and right ears off and always had opinions, followed me around and used to ride around on my shoulder when she was a baby. I'm really going to miss her. The henhouse is feeling really empty this afternoon :(
     

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