1. father-clucker

    father-clucker Chirping

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Southern California
    We're working on the foundation of our run which will be >32SF for 4 standard hens (they'll get some general yard time in the afternoons outside the run -- too many cats want them for a snack when we're not around). Anyway, I've been laying large pavers on which to set the wood framed walls later.. The grass is dead due to a recent remodel and I've been basically removing the remaining grass from the run area as I go.. Is this OK for the birds once they're ready to go or should I consider planting grass in there before they move in? I think I read somewhere that they will destroy grass in a run that doesn't move... Is this correct?

    If no grass, do I need anything in the bottom of the run aside from hard-pack dirt? Thx!
     
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:There's no chance you will grow grass in the run. The hens will like it if you try. [​IMG] Some people have planted grass and covered it with wire and let the grass grow through it, or planted in trays and rotate in the run,

    Imp- BTW cats are rarely a threat to grown standard hens. It's more likely yuo will need to protect the cats. [​IMG]

    ETA- Dirt is OK or you can put something in for then to scratch through.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  3. father-clucker

    father-clucker Chirping

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    Apr 12, 2010
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    Thanks! We've had our birds out while working in the yard and man-o-man do they find the wierd stuff to chomp on.. Makes me happy though -- a few less weeds to pick! Our birds are relatively new at <2 months old so they've still got some growing to do.. The big Orps are ready to get out and "hang" in the yard so I'm trying to get the run and coop done ASAP! Hopefully they'll scare Elvis or Priscilla (the neighbors large brother/sister cats) away if they come to visit! For now fencing is a must! [​IMG]
     
  4. Keri78

    Keri78 Songster

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    Oct 17, 2009
    NJ
    Once they are full grown those cats won't even consider those chickens![​IMG] I had my hubby originally build me chicken tractors with the intention of moving them daily for fresh grass. Well that didn't last more than a month and they have eaten down all of the grass in my side yard. I then decided to free range them and just lock them up at night. Now my side yard looks awesome! They spend most of their day in the woods hunting bugs! I now have 3 coops and one in the process of being built. I've found that what works great in my runs is hay! About once a month I pick up a bale of hay and toss some in all of the runs. This does several things:

    1. Keeps the runs built up nice and high and allows for great drainage. Although my side yard is VERY prone to flooding...the coops stay nice & high & dry!
    2. Hay looks great, smells great, and gives the side yard a nice neat appearance to our non-chicken friends & family!
    3. They LOVE pecking through the fresh hay and finding things to eat. They also love nesting in it. It offers great protection from the weather(hot & cold)
    4. Each month they churn the hay and poo into the ground so I NEVER have to clean the run!!!! YES....I SAID NEVER....it's been over a year now and my runs look great! The hay naturally decomposes!

    Hope this was helpful!
     
  5. father-clucker

    father-clucker Chirping

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    Apr 12, 2010
    Southern California
    Thanks! Sounds like something to consider.. I'm hoping my wife will allow us to put a couple of gates in place near the sides of the yard since we've got some wrought iron swinging gates at the front of the house that have gaps between the bars that are way too big.. I'm fine with them wandering the yard but need to allow the gas & electric people in for meter reading and don't want the birds to wander off if the gate is not completely closed,etc.. Thanks again!
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Another option you may want to consider once the grass is gone is sand. Many folks like the ease of cleaning a sand run, and it helps drain well... Lots of choices in what to do with a run... [​IMG]
     
  7. father-clucker

    father-clucker Chirping

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    Apr 12, 2010
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    I guess I could switch between sand & straw -- perhaps Straw only in the summer when no rain is likely for months.. Obviously I don't probably want straw in the winter when it might start molding if it gets wet.. My run/coop is on a slight grade (incline) and could conceivably get wet during heavy rain periods so sand would be a better choice for those periods.. I've got tons of playground sand that I can put down -- what do you do with the poop if using sand? Do I just act as if it's a large kitty litter box and just scoop it out weekly (or daily)? I'm planning on using the deep litter method for the coop but am not completely sure on the run.. TIA!
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yes, those who have sand run basically treat it like a large kitty litter pan...lol. How often you rake or sift the droppings out would depend on how many chickens you have in your space and your tolerance to poop in your run... Playground sand is fine, whatever is cheaper and available. I will say it's much cheaper if you get it by the truckload from a mulch or gravel company and not by the bag.
     
  9. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello! Just wanted to mention to you that I've tried every surface imaginable in my chicken runs, which are not covered, and sand is the very best! It's just plain wonderful! Drains well, and you can just rake the surface. I take a kitty litter scoop out there and scoop the poo up daily, give it a rake, and it's just nice and fresh, and looks good too.
     
  10. TheChickenProject

    TheChickenProject In the Brooder

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    May 20, 2010
    Does anyone use mulch in thier run?
    I understand the use of sand and hay for drainage but I have access to free shredded mulch through the township. Would the mulch be to hard on thier feet or not drain enough?
    Reading other posts, I wonder if sand is easier to clean than changing out the mulch every week. The run is only 4x8 so the effort of changing mulch is not that much.
     

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