Should I add anything else to the ground of the "garden run"?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Spikes Chooks, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    My four chickens have a raised coop and a permanent run of coarse river sand, about 8m2 (roughly 85 square feet). I clean it with a cat litter scooper and it is so easy. They used to spend 3-4 hours each afternoon free ranging in our garden, but two new kittens have put an end to that and we are now constructing a cat-proof additional run for the chickens, around their permanent run. I'll open it around lunchtime each day, and put them back in the permanent run at night, as this is properly predator-proofed.

    The garden run will be about 12m2 (roughly 130 sq ft). There are a few shrubs and a patch of bracken fern which will be good for shade in the summer. Here in Sydney we have hot humid summers, tend to get wet periods in spring and autumn, and can get rain during the winter. Or we can be in drought. Go figure..... The area is gently sloping so it drains ok, though in heavy rain I guess I can expect puddles where the girls have dug big holes.

    The soil is sandy with some topsoil on top and the remains of woodchip mulch around the shrubs (not much left from previous chicken excavations). I was planning to add more wood chips and later on in the autumn, I can also add dried leaves and any prunings that seem suitable,

    Before, or as I add the wood chips, should I add anything else? I have DE so that makes sense to add too. Should I also add garden lime? I am hoping I only need add dried leaves, more DE and, eventually, more wood chips, as time goes by. I am hoping I don't need to rake it all out and replace it - just top it up. Is this realistic? Should I add anything else to stop it going too muddy/smelly? We have a suburban backyard and the area is close to fences with neighbours. Guess I'm spoilt by my easy-care sand in the other run and hoping I can get away with no more work [​IMG]

    Thanks
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    DE won't do anything in a wet run, save your money.
    Full grown chickens should be able to stand up to cats, especially kittens...chooks should school the kittens to stay away!
     
  3. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I thought that would happen but it hasn't worked out. They are 6 month old Bengal cats, so very athletic and vocal. They chased the chickens so much they got really stressed out and stopped laying. They never would just peck one - that's what I wanted them to do. I persevered but have given up after 3 weeks, when the two cats got the RIR into a corner and one lunged for her throat. Figured I was going to end up with an injured or dead chicken.

    Thanks for the tip on DE
     

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