Sand, pine shavings, wood chips....oh my!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by smithwickchick, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. smithwickchick

    smithwickchick New Egg

    Mar 22, 2014
    Hi, everyone!

    We're brand new to the chicken world and I think we've done well so far. We got our six "ladies" at a day old in late April so they're about 15 weeks old. Their pen/run is under our 16'x13' deck and their 8'x4' coop is inside the pen. Right now the "floor" of the pen is dirt, but we have an overabundance of flies. I've read many, many different suggestions on what to put down, but I still don't know what to use! In one article it says to use sand so they have something to bathe in as well, but then another says don't use sand because it can be ingested. We have pine shavings in the coop and that's been fine, but we have no tree coverage and pine shavings would just be blown everywhere. Does anyone here have any thoughts or good luck with what they use in their runs?

    We and our ladies, Annie, Caramel, Clarabelle, Fluffy, Luna, and Mabel thank you!
  2. smithwickchick

    smithwickchick New Egg

    Mar 22, 2014
  3. MoonSkin

    MoonSkin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2014
    I've had luck with pine sawdust. Note, not the powder stuff but, the product of simply grinding the wood. Its common as horse bedding. It stays fresh smelling, coats and dries up poo, flies hate it and hens live it for scratching.
  4. smithwickchick

    smithwickchick New Egg

    Mar 22, 2014
    Thank you for the response. :) That is exactly what we're using in the coop. Maybe we will try it.
  5. Big Bubba

    Big Bubba Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2013
    I've found keeping it dry is the most important issue. Make sure the girls can bury their business or you clean it out on a daily basis.

    Also, look into DE - Diatomeacous Earth. It's effectiveness is debatable, but I think it has helped.
  6. Beckaberry

    Beckaberry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2012
    Glen Mills, PA
    I gotta say, I am a huge lover of straw in our run. It is hours and hours of fun for the ladies and they love to relax in it too. It keeps the dirt from turning to mud and elevates there feet from the muck too. I do change it out about every week and a half or more often if it's very rainy, but have no complaints. Into the compost pile it goes and everyone is happy.
  7. smithwickchick

    smithwickchick New Egg

    Mar 22, 2014
    I've read that straw can be harmful to them if swallowed. Not the case?? I'm glad you said, "It's hours and hours of fun...". I've been wanting to get something in the pen so they're not bored. Suggestions for "toys"? Can I go to the pet store and grab some of those wooden bird toys they have? I've heard mirrors are fun for them, too. :)
  8. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you searched the "deep litter" method?
  9. mamabear72

    mamabear72 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 7, 2014
    Northern Nevada
  10. Irishhenman

    Irishhenman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2013
    I use the Balfour system for my main run. The coop is in a scratching run, and that run is connected to 2-3 other grass runs. You could have your run like the scratching run that I have. Basically you treat it like a compost pile. You put in what ever organic material is available to you, like lawn cuttings, Autumn leaves/hedge trimmings, straw, wood shavings, shredded paper, weeds from the garden, old bedding from their house etc and let the chickens scratch through it and let it compost. Then once a year dig out the compost and let it rest for 6 months and it is brilliant for your garden. As long as you keep it dry it doesn't smell.

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