Run Litter - Question from a Newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by daddybld, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. daddybld

    daddybld Just Hatched

    Apr 1, 2017
    Hi All:

    I'm new to the forum, having joined after spending a lot of time and learning so much. This site is great. My question concerns how, or if, I should put something down in my run.

    I have built what I call a run - a 360 degree wire-enclosed space - into which I have placed a coop. The coop is simply a small building for roosting and nesting. At least this is what I call the two parts:the run and the coop.

    The run is really just to protect the chickens at night (although the coop closes up tight) and to give the chickens some leg room when I need to travel. Otherwise, the run gate is left open and the chickens get the run of the yard.

    The run floor is the ground - beautiful fertile earth (I used a 2' hardware cloth apron on the outside). Plain dirt. This means it can get muddy, and will have morning dew. The site is partial shade. I live in CA, where there's no rain for like 8-9 months, then a rainy season.

    So I'm wondering whether I should throw something down on that dirt to help the chickens' feet stay clean. Is this where I would lightly throw down straw? Raking would work. Sweeping would not, so shavings don't seem to make sense.

    I'm an avid hot-composter. So I always have grass clippings, shredded magnolia leaves, or even compost to put out. So perhaps I just put the grass and shredded leaves in occasionally? I've read straw can be bad (moldy and hurt the chickens).

    Thoughts would be appreciated. I've read a lot on the forum about litter, but that seems to be the stuff one uses inside of a full coop with a floor. My chickens will only use the coop at night and for laying eggs.

    Thank you.
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC - so glad you've joined us!

    My own approach would be to use your clippings, leaf litter, etc to create a nice layer of cover on the ground in the run. Bare earth quickly becomes a stinky, mucky mess with the littlest bit of moisture -- creating a nice layer of wicking materiel helps to absorb the rain and leave the top layer clean and nice. This approach also helps to keep down the smell from chicken waste in the run as it gets worked into the bio-mass and breaks down naturally. You can use all sorts of things in this litter - wood chips, mulch, peat moss, the things you already listed as being readily available --- it's a very easy, no muss/no fuss approach to keeping a nice, clean run.
  3. RollTideChicken

    RollTideChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2017
    North Alabama
    Yea agreed your own clippings are best and cheapest. I use my clippings then in the winter when my grass is dormant I use wheat straw. Wheat straw also has wheat seed in it so my birds love it.
  4. daddybld

    daddybld Just Hatched

    Apr 1, 2017
    Thank you both for the responses!
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

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