Run Maintenance Question


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
My girls have a decent size run, but they do not get the opportunity to free range because we live right in the village. So the run is now pretty much just dirt and poo. I shovel it out every week, but it definitely could use something else. What do you use in your runs? Do you throw straw and then just pitch the poo on the straw? Is there any chance of growing something quick growing to give them something to peck and scratch through? Any suggestions would be helpful.. Thanks.
Well, I've put Leaf-gro into my run as we have heavy clay dirt which didn't allow any decomposition or integration of the poop and by using this compost it has completely eliminated the odor. As for growing greens, you would need to block off an area for this either by putting up some chicken wire or by making a frame out of 2x4 and stapling wire over it and moving it around the pen if you like. Until I make my frame, I'm buying collards and kale and letting them out as much as I can.
Sand! It's wonderful. It coats and dries out the droppings which you can rake under or remove with a kitty litter scoop, or even a reptile sand scoop. I bought one of those and taped to a long handle so I don't even have to bend over.

Plus, the chickens love to take dust baths in the sand.
Just mulched mine. The chickens seem to like to scratch it up well enough in my gardens!!! We've gotten a lot of rain and the run is on a little hill.
HILL + MUD = me on my butt! So now the mulch is making the footing better. We'll see how it holds up though.
Elmo - where did you get this wonderful reptile scoop?
I like the idea of not stooping over. Very appealing to those over 40.
Yah, I like the idea of not bending too, LOL! Thanks for sharing that, Elmo.

OP, I use sand as well for my pens, but I also toss in things for the girls to pick through such as wheat straw; lots of greens; veggies like squash, cabbage, broccoli; fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, etc. This time of year is great for finding pumpkins, too - - I just split one open and toss it in the pen.

I clean my pens at least once a day by policing up with a cat litter scoop, hand whisk broom, and my trusty bucket. Lots of bending, but it doesn't take too long to sift through real quick each day. Keeps down the smell, flies, and disease/cocci issues.

Good luck! Keep us posted on what works for you.
I live in a very dry climate. Less than ten inces of precip. a year. So I use straw. Rake it up once a week and compost it. Throw some new straw in. If we lived in a more damp climate, I'd use sand.
Wow, I hope I'm not doing something wrong....I just stir the top layer around with a rake and put a thin layer of straw down every week or two. So far no smell and really not much sign of poo. Am I saposed to be cleaning it out? I'm guessing all the poo must be decomposing into the ground along with the straw, but I don't know.
I assume that people using kitty litter scoops have relatively small runs. Mine is going to be about 300 square feet. For this size a kitty litter scoop doesn't seem feasible.

I like the idea of using sand, but I want to save the droppings for the garden. Does using sand make saving the droppings more difficult?

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