Seeking paltry amount of pultry advice for run ground material

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by emdiesse, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. emdiesse

    emdiesse New Egg

    Apr 6, 2016
    South-East England, UK
    Hi All,

    I was fortunate enough to get a hold of a greenhouse frame and chicken coop on freecycle and since the manky old shed in the back of our garden was at the brink of toppling over I decided it was the perfect place for the chickens to go.

    Just trying to decide on what to cover the concrete with for the chickens to run and scratch about in.

    I am thinking either simply cover it up with the plenty of mud I have lieing about or to fill it up with sharp sand from wickes?


    I plan to cover the run with a tarpaulin to keep the rain off them, and I plan to let them roam around the garden however on the odd occasion they'll be confied to the run and concrete (although predator-resistant) isn't really an ideal run material.

    What are your thoughts on ground material for the run - mud/dirt, sharp sand, other?

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Can't really see pic....small and low resolution for these old eyes.
    Hard to see the structural integrity and mesh size of GH walls.

    Is the entire run 'floor' concrete pavers?
    What is your climate? Putting your location in your profile helps folks give better answers suggestions.

    Chicken like to scratch the deep litter over concrete might work here.
    Sand can be good or bad depending on climate and daily maintenance techniques....
    .........but in the long run, not a great run material, as many have found.
  3. emdiesse

    emdiesse New Egg

    Apr 6, 2016
    South-East England, UK
    Oh dear, I thought it'd be bigger than that!

    Here is a much bigger photo:


    I am based in the South-East England, UK

    The run is constructed of a 8x6 aluminium greenhouse frame covered in 1/2" x 1/2" 19g galvanized welded wire which is all lashed together by 19g galvanized wire. The base is concrete and there is a skirt/apron of 1/2 welded wire that goes around the perimeter (unfinished in photograph) and then there is also a 2" chicken wire which goes under the base and is lashed to the rest of the wire (unfinished in photograph!)

    The door is bolted to the greenhose frme and base and also to the welded wire at points with 100mm M6 bolts and M6 washers - I am thinking about also using the remaining wire to close of the part between the wood and the greenhouse.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    What works best for you will depend on your climate, how well it drains, how well you keep water out, your chicken density, and your management techniques. Your enemies are wet and poop build-up.

    Wet poop stinks. It’s that simple. If poop gets wet it stinks after a day or two. So you need to either keep water out to start with (really hard to do) or get it out when it gets in. To get it out water needs a place to drain to. Some soils, like clay, really hold water so they can be a real problem. Sands drain really well but the water needs a place to drain to. If you dig a hole in clay and fill it with sand all you’ve done is create a bathtub that has sand in it but also holds water. If the sand is high enough so it can drain to a lower spot you probably have a pretty good situation. If your run is in a low spot where water drains to and stands you have a problem.

    The other problem is that when pop builds up it can hold moisture. The more chickens you have pooping in a small space the faster it will build up. Some people are out there about every day scooping poop to keep it from building up to bad. Sand works great for that. My run is pure dirt but it’s on a hillside so it drains pretty well. When the weather sets in wet it still becomes a mess but mine also have a big area in electric netting where they spend most of the day. It doesn’t stink because the poop is spread out so much.

    Some people compost in the run. They fill it with leaves, grass clippings, kitchen and garden wastes, and let the chickens keep it scratched up and turn to compose. For some people it works great. But some find they need to dig that stuff out when it sets in wet because it gets too wet and starts to stink itself.

    I’m going to suggest some trial and error. Try it as just dirt to see how you like that. You can come in with sand on top of that later if you need to. But above all else, figure out a way to drain it if it needs it.
  5. emdiesse

    emdiesse New Egg

    Apr 6, 2016
    South-East England, UK
    I'm hoping the drainage shouldn't be too bad, whoever layed the concrete managed to lay it at an angle sloping towards the camera so water drains off to the front - A the front where I have the paving slabs is where the water pools rather than in the run.

    I'll make sure to sort out the tarpaulin before getting chickens to help with any rain.

    We're planning on 4 'standard' hybrid hens as this seems to sound ok with our coop and 8x6 run - it'll also be an ideal number for us eggs-wise.

    I've spent a long time trying to make sure the run is predator proof - I think our main concerns here in the UK is mr fox and rats - perhaps the neighbours ferrets... but I have been pretty liberal with the welded wire and paintstakingly 'stitching' it all on wire wire so I believe they should be foiled.

    The gates have auto latches and I am going to fit gate springs to make sure they close behind themselves in case we even forgot (I will be including a way to open them from the inside with a bicycle brake cable!)

    I think you're all right, there is no 'right' way and I'll just have to wing it! :)

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016

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