Sick Sand! Pics of New Run...IDEAS..Please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bantyshanty, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    (I think I've finally gotten a title to make someone look at one of my questions, hah!)
    This is the southern half of our run. it is nice & dry with filtered sunlight.
    [​IMG]

    My chicken run sand is very "sick" in some spots.

    I have a really shady run, overhung by beech & hemlock trees. It's the only semi-level spot on our 2 acres, apart from the driveway.
    This pic shows how shady it is midday, midsummer:
    [​IMG]
    It still has a slope of about 15 degrees from front to back
    I excavated 15 cubic yards of clay & stones from the existing chain link run to turn it into a chicken run.
    This was the sand just layed. It shows the retaining wall blocks on the terraces. The terrace near the post is the shadiest, stinkiest one.
    [​IMG]

    The run now has 2 ft. of limestone gravel, an 8 ft graded French drain in this, and weed cloth in between with 12-24 in. of mason sand on top, throughout.
    It has a structural tent-shape roof overhead which is sort of latticed, with a bit of solid wood at the top, like an umbrella, attached to the central post.
    This allows snow to drop through, to minimize weight on the structure.
    Here's my roof, to show it off, and to show how lit filters sunlight even more.
    [​IMG]
    We couldn't roof it solidly, due to the galvanized steel dog run poles not being able to support a roof's weight.
    The hill it's on is shale, and digging down more was not an option either.

    3/4 of the sand in the 175 sq ft. run is fine. It get a couple hours of sunshine & dries out. This is also the part near the French drain.
    I scoop poop out of the whole run every 48-72 hours with a small rake & cat litter scoop.
    The back part of the run, which is at the top of the grade, is the very shady part away from the drain, and I deep-raked this today, to find it grey and very stinky underneath.
    It smells exactly like the sand at a lake shore or pond shore where the trees overhang and you get a "mucky" sand which smells.

    The chickens rarely run there, as it is the top tier of the 4-level terraced run. There's never a lot of poop to scoop there.

    So, I raked it & turned it over.. it's obviously full of some sort of wet-sand bacteria.

    Will this make the chickens sick to eat it?

    How do I fix it?

    Ideas, please !!
     
  2. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry. I don't know, but I absolutely love your aviary![​IMG]
     
  3. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2010
    What about putting woodshavings just on that one spot ? It would absorb the moisture and you can just clean it out.
     
  4. Rozzie

    Rozzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    x
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  5. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could try adding some DE.
     
  6. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

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    mtns of ,NC.
    It sounds like it may have soured. I would use agr. lime and rake it in good. You could also use some DE food grade. Neither if used right will hurt the chicks. Gloria Jean
     
  7. jomercer

    jomercer Chillin' With My Peeps

    That stinky smell indicates it's gone anaerobic--staying too wet for some reason. Without seeing it myself, I'd first guess that the sand is too fine to let air in between the particles /let the water drain away quickly. You say you have filter cloth underlying the sand, I believe. what does that overlie? another slightly coarser substrate or a packed soil? If it's non-permeable substrate, then water could be pooling in a depression (or behind those terrace walls) and causing anaerobic conditions to develop.
     
  8. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    crazyhen said
    I would use agr. lime and rake it in good. You could also use some DE food grade. Neither if used right will hurt the chicks. Gloria Jean

    I did add some DE and it worked for the smell a lot. I also try to turn it over every third day or so now.

    jomercer said
    That stinky smell indicates it's gone anaerobic--staying too wet for some reason. Without seeing it myself, I'd first guess that the sand is too fine to let air in between the particles /let the water drain away quickly. You say you have filter cloth underlying the sand, I believe. what does that overlie? another slightly coarser substrate or a packed soil? If it's non-permeable substrate, then water could be pooling in a depression (or behind those terrace walls) and causing anaerobic conditions to develop.

    The sand in question is only about 4-6 inches deep, with wee cloth and about 12 inches of 2B crushed limestone gravel under it. Clay soil with rock is under that, and there are tree roots which have caused a few pockets of earth which are not on a grade like the rest. I suspect that's what's causing the fermentation. Yes, right, it's too tightly packed & anaerobic bacteria breed there. Theymust be starting near the rots and existing up into the sand, which is black like at a pond shore. I think deep raking frequently is the best I can do for it. I'll add DE weekly as well.​
     
  9. babyblue

    babyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would try adding some pea size gravel when you rake and add the de. I would not add anything that could breakdown or compist like wood chips or such. that will make the issue worse.
     

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