Questions about my chicken run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bethanyc, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. bethanyc

    bethanyc In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2015
    hi! What do Yall use for the flooring of yalls chicken run? Mine will be on grass and I'm kind of confused on flooring/bedding. Thanks!
  2. mbix

    mbix Hatching

    Mar 18, 2015
    We use sand in run and coop. No mud and easy to sift out poop. Chickens love to scratch in it and dust themselves.
  3. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Songster

    May 2, 2012
    I think you mean "mine will start out as grass", it's gonna be toast real quick unless it's huge then some might survive.

    You'll find many different opinions on what works and what doesn't. It's a combination of factors:cost, availability, ease of cleanup, smell, moisture. Also the conditions of your site matter as well, good drainage, flat/sloped, etc etc.

    If you have drainage problems you'll want something the drains well and doesn't retain the moisture. I have a run with a slight slope to it so it drains pretty well, but does still get muddy when it rains. I score free hay/straw bales after holloween and use that in my run throughout the year. I put about 1/4bale in the run and let them dig through it till it's all broken up and full of manure then I rake it out and add more fresh. If we get lots of rain or snow melt then I swap it out sooner. My run is only 12x12 so it's not a big deal to clean and refresh it.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    What size is your run? How many chickens will be on it? How well does it drain? What is your climate like, mainly wet or dry? We are all different so different things work for different people.

    Moisture is going to be your biggest issue but there are a lot of different things that factor into that. A wet run is likely to be a stinky run but chicken density has something to do with that. Wet poop stinks when it gets wet because it is decomposing anaerobically. The same thing happens to a compost pile that is too wet. Also a wet coop or run is a dangerous coop or run because certain disease-causing bugs can thrive in the wet, especially if it has chicken poop in it. When the weather sets in wet it is difficult to keep a larger run really dry but you need to do the best you can.

    My run is just dirt but it is fairly large, plus they have a 45’ x 90’ area in electric netting they spend a lot of time in. The poop density isn’t all that bad so it does not get that bad when it does get wet. It drains fairly well but they dig holes for dust bathing and it can get pretty wet in wet weather. Luckily it does dry out fairly fast when it quits raining.

    If you have a small urban coop and run the odds are you will need to do some poop management, at least more than I have to. The poop load with them pooping in a small area will require something. There are different ways to handle that. Some people cover the top and sides of their run to keep it dry. Some people use sand to build it up higher than the surrounding area so water will drain out. If the poop load is high enough they may be out there regularly scooping it like a kitty litter box. Or they may add a bedding like straw, wood shavings, or wood chips and remove that regularly when it gets too much poop or it starts to break down itself and start to stink. If you go that route you need some way to dispose of it, maybe a compost pile or bag it for trash pick-up. On the other hand if the run drains well and they live in a drier climate they may use the run as their compost pile, filling it with leaves, grass clippings, stuff from the garden or kitchen wastes. With the chickens constantly scratching in it for good treats, they keep it turned well enough it can stay dry enough, but that calls for a well-drained run and a fairly dry climate. If your run is situated in a low spot where water drains to it instead of away from it, you will have to work harder.

    We do this all kinds of different ways. You need to find someone that has a climate and set-up close to yours so they can tell you how they manage it. There are all kinds of successful techniques out there and some of them will work for you. The challenge is figuring out which ones apply to your unique situation.

    Good luck!

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