Run ground question

lukkyseven

Songster
Sep 13, 2018
120
133
113
Maryland
Is it best to leave my run as bare earth or cover it with sand. If I leave it bare earth I feel like I'd never have to clean it? Am I wrong?

If I use sand, will the chicken poop still get scratched in?

End question, is one easier maintenance than the other?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,801
78,337
1,452
Wisconsin
I prefer deep litter. You add various materials like grass clippings, leaves, mulch, pulled weeds, hay, and straw to name a few. It's basically a compost pile. The chickens will work it and your ground stays sweet.

Sand can work in a dryer climate, but becomes a mess in wetter climates. Bare ground can encourage diseases and parasites. Unless you are rotating pastures I would do something.
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,399
1,590
297
I use bare dirt uncovered run. I use a square shovel once a year to remove some build up then use that dirt for gardening, but its not a necessary just good compost. Mine never stinks and only gets messy when it rains, buts thats any run.
 
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andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,886
437
Finger Lakes, NY
Ive done it all!! Straw....don't go there! Sand was ok, I used a big cat litter scoop taped on the end of a shovel stick and sifted the poop out. Any kind of shavings became a nasty, wet, stinky mess. I like bare ground best. Also it depends on your land, is your run covered? Is it in a wettish area? How big is the run and how many chickens will be in there and for how long every day?
 

lukkyseven

Songster
Sep 13, 2018
120
133
113
Maryland
My total run (including the space under the coop) is 28' x 6' wide. It will hold 11 chickens. They will be in it for the majority of the day.

The run is not covered right now. I didn't plan on covering it, but idea's change.

I think it's a little too big to deep litter, but I do have enough property where I could pretty regularly throw in leaves and grass clippings to cover a good portion of it. I also made the entrance of the run large enough for a wheelbarrow.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,139
126,037
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
My total run (including the space under the coop) is 28' x 6' wide. It will hold 11 chickens. They will be in it for the majority of the day.

The run is not covered right now. I didn't plan on covering it, but idea's change.

I think it's a little too big to deep litter, but I do have enough property where I could pretty regularly throw in leaves and grass clippings to cover a good portion of it. I also made the entrance of the run large enough for a wheelbarrow.
What is your climate?
Sand will need cleaning, IMO.
I have nice sandy soil but eventually it stank when wet.
My run doesn't stink when wet, lots of wood chippings is the key.
Doesn't have to be 'deep litter'...just enough carbon to 'cold compost' the poops.


I use bare dirt uncovered run. I use a square shovel once a year to remove some build up then use that dirt for gardening, but its not a necessary just good compost. Mine never stinks and only gets messy when it rains, buts thats any run.
What is your location?
How big is run?
How many birds?
Are they in it full time?
I know, I know...so many annoying questions,
but the devil is in the details. :D

@lukkyseven and @ChickenLeg ...
Where in this world are you located?
Climate is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, then it's always there!
upload_2018-10-25_9-12-19.png
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,278
20,098
907
Southeast Louisiana
You answered one question, chicken density. Kind of high but not ridiculously so, others have worse. The poop will build up some. How well does your run drain? If it is in a low spot where water collects you can have issues with any bedding. If it is where water drains away from it you have a lot more options. Putting a solid roof sloped so runoff runs away from the run will help, but rain and snow will blow in from the sides. It will still get wet. If it drains well that's usually not a big deal. Water is your enemy in a run. If it stays wet for an extended time it can become unhealthy and stink. If it stays dry or dries in a reasonable time it should be OK.

My run is bare dirt, but it is up high where it drains well. Plus I have a big area inside electric netting where they spend most of their time during the day and where they drop mist of their poop. Poop doesn't build up in the run very much. Yours will build up a lot more. You can try bare dirt and see how it works, there is nothing wrong with trial and error. We are all unique in our set-ups, climates, and many other things. It might work for you and would be a low maintenance solution.

Sand has two benefits. It drains really fast as long as long as the water has a place to drains to. If the water does not have any place to drain to it will sit under the sand, the poop filters down through the sand and stinks when it stays wet. Some people reduce the poop load in the run by using a scoop to remove clumps of poop. Sand works well for that. Sand can be a great option for some people, for others it just doesn't work.

People use all kinds of things for bedding in the run. Dry leaves, straw, hay, wood shavings, wood chips, practically anything you might use as bedding for a coop or even in a nest. You can find people for any of them that think they are great, others will say they don't work at all. Different people with different conditions and management methods have different results. Some people turn their runs (or coop floors) into compost piles. In addition to any of the above stuff, (except maybe wood chips that take a long time to break down) they might toss in kitchen or garden wastes or grass clippings, green or dried. Generally if it drains well any of them work pretty well. If it doesn't drain very well you could have problems. You may need to dig it out and dispose of it.

We are all unique with different conditions. Some things do work better than others for certain people. I don't know what the right answer for you is. I'd look at how it drains and if you need to address that. Then try something and see how it works.

Good luck!
 

MANNA-PRO

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