Straw in the run? Need advice


In the Brooder
Feb 22, 2018
Northern Arizona
Hi, I live in Northern Arizona, where sand and clay are everywhere and not much foliage. I have a run with dirt, but when it gets rainy, there is mud everywhere and the chickens get super muddy. So, just wondering if anyone has the same issue and used straw to keep the run mud-free? What are pros amd cons for this? I would imagine pests, but anything else? If not straw, is there another good (cheap) option?

My run is 12' x 12' and 6' high, enclosed in chicken wire. I have 10 chickens.
Actually, many chicken keepers use sand in their runs and even coops, I have heard both awesome pros and cons, here is some really good resources you can read and possibly help apply to your specific situation on the pros and cons sides;

Other things you could try is possibly gravel? That would help the water run through it instead of stay and puddle up.
Straw works if you are going for a deep-litter type of cover, but there are risks as mentioned above. I second the idea of covering the run to keep the water to a minimum. If you do straw, go deep enough with it that it actually makes a difference. But I will say this: if you do deep litter with straw, you'll find that your chickens are so happy to have it, that they'll kick it all over the place. It will give them lots of seeds and bugs to forage for, but it probably won't have the desired outcome on YOUR end. :)
We use straw, but it does still get muddy and needs to be replaced regularly. The best way to keep a run dry is covering it. I wish we had roofed ours to begin with. Now we lay sections of corrugated roofing over sections that we really want to stay dry like the dust bath area. It helps.
I used straw once, it wasn't fun. When researching, I've read that straw, having a hollow stalk may/can harbor mites :eek:
Then I read about DLM & decided it was the best for me. My enclosure is covered cause it does rain alot here, my ground is hard clay which got mucky when wet. It gets warm & humid here but we don't have a predator issue here.
So DH made my enclosure "open air" with a roof, I added shavings (4" deep) and keep adding as is "disappears". Oh, the girls have a poop board which I put PDZ in, sprinkle some in the shavings & everything's great.

You're using chicken wire, you may want to add 1/2 x 1/2 hardware cloth on the lower half; predator proofing.

Just to show how much better roof and pine shavings on the run and no stinky rotting straw, and no muddy eggs, here’s some photos.
I can’t stand the straw! It’s great if it’s dry. But as soon as it rains, it’s a mucky stinky mess that just packs down from the chickens walking on it. I’m out there a couple of times a week mucking it out and hosing the concrete off under the coop. And my chickens stay so dirty. We are planning a new chicken coop soon and I can’t wait. Thank you for the sand articles. I think this is going to be the way to go.

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