Question on DLM in new run/ rain drains to area

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickeepoo, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're finally finishing a new little run for my 4 RIR hens to attach to their Lowe's playhouse/henhouse; it will be very similar to one I saw on BYC just a little while ago, with a platform to hold up the house and a toal ground area of about 4x8 feet. Because the area is at the bottom of our yard and by the fence where all the rain runoff goes, we laid wire mesh and framed in the base with concrete block filled with some limestone pearock we had in the yard from a drainage project. The frame of the coop/run will sit on top of the block frame, keeping the chickens off the ground and away from water should the rains get too heavy.

    My question is, I need to fill in about 6 inches of dirt or sand before adding the litter for the hens; is sand the best choice for this, since I thought it would drain fastest in case of rain blowing in during storms? I can get either plain fill dirt (never sure what's in that?) or sand at the local landscape supply pretty cheap. It's be great if the Landscape Fairy would just drop a few cubic yards by the driveway…

    * we're in Central Florida and not too far above the water table, another reason to lift up the run/coop
     
  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Dirt would make mud. I vote sand for drainage.
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you have pics?

    I'm guessing you had no choice but to put your coop and run in the low area?

    Sand probably a good choice, wondering if you have sufficient rain to warrant fears of flooding- nothing worse than wet chickens, even in a warm climate.[​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Gravel would be better than sand. It will stay put better, and if you put shavings down they won't mix in with the gravel as bad as they will with the sand. (Although, it will still occur to some extent, and will probably require periodic maintenance i.e. digging the mix out and replacing with more plain sand or gravel to restore the level of the 'floor')

    Ideal thing, if your main purpose here is to raise the ground, would be to get some 1/2-minus crushed limestone and dampen it and then tamp it in real real well. The chickens will have a much harder time digging holes in *that*, and it will not mix with the bedding creating mud, and it'll do a better job keeping the chickens up above flood level.

    Any trenching you can do, around the coop and also to encourage water to exit your yard as swiftly as possible, would be a real good idea too.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your input… I still have limestone gravel (1/2") and I have the sand too, so we'll put both to work in the run and area around it. We have water problems once it gets rainy here and there was no other place to fit the coop and run as the property is deep and narrow (shotgun), and there's already a shed base and garden to the side and a space we planned to extend the house up higher. Hurricane season and summer storms are the worst when we get buckets of water running down before it can drain, and then ground so saturated it can't take any more rain. I think this will work to keep the hens dry- the only problem I expect now is they're going to be very offended since they've been free-ranging during the day for 7 months. I'll take pictures and add them shortly!
     
  6. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2008
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    Here's some construction pictures plus the finished product. I haven't built their ramp yet, but they just fly/hop up into the house through the little doorway cut out on the side. Unfortunately, the gravel wasn't chicken-proof and they've scratched and mixed it in with the pine shavings, so they're walking on rocks part of the time. Time to rake out the rocks and let them dig up their shavings and sand? I wasn't sure how this affects the whole concept of DLM. Any thoughts?


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  7. Catalina

    Catalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2007
    Minnesota
    Wow! Your coop and run are gorgeous!

    You have very lucky birds!
     
  8. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Thank you, Catalina! I'm still not sure if the gravel should stay, since I didn't get it packed in enough to keep the ladies from scratching it up into the pine shavings… and I think I'll look for that Stall Dry if I can't get the DE to keep the litter dry.

    And the ladies in the photo above are, from left to right: Mindy, Large Marge, Chicken Little, and Chickeepoo.
    I'm happy to report they kept laying eggs without skipping a beat when we moved them in the other day, and I've been giving them extra treats to try to make up a little for their lost free-ranging time.[​IMG]
     

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