Running out of time. What to put in the run.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JoieD, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. JoieD

    JoieD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2011
    Marysville, Ohio
    I am in the process of finishing our run. It's been slow going because of time limitations and RAIN. I have investigated sand prices and because I have a quarry 3 miles from my house the cost is going to be minimal. The girls have been using the run and the dirt is getting pretty packed down,but kind of slimy because of all the rain. I still have to cover the top with metal or fiberglass, but I doubt I'll get to enclose it with plastic before winter. The run is about 14x8. I love the idea of sand,but with the run being so damp right now and it probably isn't going to dry out anytime soon- rain again today, I'm thinking of using something else for winter. Also i noticed a bit of a smell yesterday.
    Soooo.. what can I use for winter and then easily clean it out and get ready for gravel and sand in the spring. Would cypress mulch be an option? Maybe about 20 bags with lime or DE and turn it periodically. It's pretty cheap at the garden store. or maybe go ahead and use gravel? I can get that at the quarry too. I read the muddy run thread so I know I shouldn't put sand on a wet run. I'm in Ohio. What would you do? I need to do something and soon because of the smell.
  2. TinyChickenLady

    TinyChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've heard of people using mulch and DE as a dust bath option for the chickens so I don't think it would be a problem to use it in the run.
    I never used anything in my run but that might be a good idea if you don't mind me stealing it. It isn't getting smelly but the area right in front of the coop (the high traffic area) is getting pretty packed down...
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Joie, right now, here in Ohio, it's just going to continue to be rainy. I'm not sure who told you not to put the sand down on the wet run. Go ahead and do it. Rake out the poop the best you can, put a layer of barn lime over that, and then pour that sand right over it. Give it a real good layer if you can afford it. Like 3 inches, or even more.

    Sand is the only way to go here in Ohio with this darned weather! You'll be glad you used the sand. (Believe me, I tried EVERYTHING.)

  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I'd use the heavier bark mulch....everyone seems to get good mileage out of it, it seems to absorb less of the moisture~allowing it to evaporate more readily~ and can still be scratched through and bugs love to hide there. The cypress mulch will just stay wet and clumpy.
  5. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You are on the right track with lime, some small gravel first, and then sand. I would try to rake out as much of the existing poop as possible. Be sure you use the right kind of lime.

    Unless you get the run covered, mulch is going to get wet and stay wet. That combined with chicken poop could have very stinky results. Our run has two layers of chicken wire propped up in the center with a post and covered with a heavy duty tarp. I fastened it down with clips onto the sides of the run. Next year, I hope we can improve it with a real roof, but for now, this is doing the job. The sand is very dry except on the edges after heavy blowing rain.

    Good luck!
  6. JoieD

    JoieD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2011
    Marysville, Ohio
  7. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I had some problem with muddiness in my run. I had the plain dirt floor covered with mulch, when I started. After the chickens got rid of the mulch, I noticed how muddy it was after a heavy rain.

    Considering that being dry consists of being above the water, it seemed natural that raising the floor of the run relative to the surroundings would make a lot of sense. I raked all the debris to one corner of the run, then laid down 3 to 4 inches of crushed stone fines. This is coarser than the sand I could find.

    Now the floor of the run is higher than the surrounding area. When it rains, the water does not pool in the run. Sure the stone fines are damp to the touch, but the chickens don't have wet feet. There are no puddles in the run, now.

    Even thought the stone fines pack down somewhat, raking the material is easy, the chickens can scratch in it easily, and the rain soaks through the fines into the substrate readily. I would have used sand, if what I found were coarser.

    I could not have it delivered, because I did not want a dump truck driving across my yard leaving ruts.

    As far as the mulch that was in the run initially is concerned, the chickens must eat it or something. After a few weeks, it was gone. I throw some hardwood mulch in there from time to time, but the chickens scatter it or grind it to nothingness in short order.

    It seems that we should not over think this matter. Raising the floor of the run enough to allow drainage and eliminating puddles should take care of the problem. Unless the run is covered, the floor will be wet from time to time. I doubt that the dampness of the sand or other cover will matter.

    The chickens don't seem to care in any event.


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