Pea gravel outdoor flooring for the run - good or bad?


11 Years
May 7, 2008
Madison-Columbus WI
I am getting ready to put something down in my run but I am not sure what. I've read a lot of posting about sand but that seems like a pain if I have to constantly be scooping poop (#1 reason why i dont have a cat). Does anyone have Pea Gravel in their runs? How do you clean it? do you just hose it down?

Also if you think sand is the greatest can you show me your set up? and specifics about how often to clean it?

Pictures would be great too!!!

I plan on putting pea gravel down first..smooth/rake it out...

then coarse sand on top and rake it out..
thats what is going in my run...

sorry no pics yet :)

However; I did read that the sand dries the poo out and it just gets recycled into the sand and breaks down...

I did read too (on this site) that is one of the main reasons for using sand; that and they have grit 100% of the time available lol
You know, DH and I stood for about 15 minutes at Earth First today debating Pea gravel only? Pea gravel on the bottom, with coarse sand on top? Coarse sand by itself? We changed our minds about 5 times. Our bantam coop/run is in an area that has good drainage, so we went with the coarse sand alone (although it has a bit of pea gravel mixed in already). I won't be able to tell you about the poo issues for several weeks though, as our babies won't have run access for a while yet.
I'm hoping the clean up will be simple with the sand...
We use sand in our covered run and do not scoop. Every couple weeks, I rake the though the top layer and toss bits into compost. Poop breaks down pretty well, the food they bill out contaminates the sand some. Getting ready now to rake off the top two inches or so and replace with new sand. It has been down over a year and this is the second time I have raked some out and added sand. I prefer to keep it mostly dry, so only use it in the covered area. I sometimes freshen with Stall Dry, DE - and in the dust bathing corner, woodstove ashes. It works great. No smell.
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I just let is get to sand but I would like to split the run and alternate the birds to let some weeds grow for them to eat on. Otherwise right now it's pretty much all sand on a hill side. The cool thing is that we have sand stone were I'm at and the sand has erroded around some of the rocks so I am starting to get a very nice looking rock "cliff" in the run. Very old west looking!

I've never racked sand, cleaned poop up, or touched gravel. With sand I never need to give them grit.

I've also found that giving the birds grass clippings and plant food scraps helps keep them preocupied.

I will hovever toss some ashes in there.
Unless the sand you use has bits of gravel or stones mixed into it (and even then), sand is not an adequate substitute for poultry grit. It's way too fine. Crushed granite, the kind usually sold as poultry grit, is ideal in that the pieces have angular edges, perfect for grinding up food in the chicken's gizzard.

If your chickens free range, they probably are able to scrounge up suitable grit on their own.

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