Suggestions on what to do with our Run!!

sunshineyarns

Songster
8 Years
Mar 23, 2011
123
1
111
So, we are kind of inbetween flocks, as we have 2 of our 7 year old birds left (of the original 8), and have 2 new ones we adopted last year that are a year old. We want to add some more soon, so I figured its time to get the coop and run cleaned/fixed up.

Our coop is about 5x5, and we use pine shavings for bedding in there, which we clean out once a month. Our run is huge, about 12 feet by 40 feet. Its fenced in with hardwire cloth, and electrified (we live in the Colorado foothills). We have clayish soil, and decided on putting down sand a few years ago, then pea gravel. What we have now is a rock hard ground in some spots, with sand in areas still where it naturally flows to due to slightly uneven ground. It is just not working great, as in spots, we get stinky/muddy puddles, and don't honestly have time to clean up their poop as often as I would like. Pre-kiddos, I used to go rake it up once a week and we evened out the surface here and there, but we have had a really wet spring and its just getting really gross.

What the heck to I do to get this area back in good shape? It just didn't seem to work. Help, and thanks!!!!
 

sunshineyarns

Songster
8 Years
Mar 23, 2011
123
1
111
I'll post a couple pics tomorrow! What are you thinking with lime? We have seriously never had a super bad smell before, but its really gotten back this season.
 

jeria

Songster
May 5, 2017
1,390
1,772
236
Independence MO
I'm a newbie with chickens (mostly) so we used to dump granulated garden lime around our horse's areas to keep odor and flies down. I read that Kansas City regulations insist that any chicken owner in the city has to spread lime on a dictated schedule. I was checking it for someone else. Just thinking it might help. Gypsum I use in my gardens to help loosen the soil as I have clay/loess mix and it gets so compacted and hard. I don't think it would be harmful to chicks but have not checked it out.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,140
38,112
1,096
southern Michigan
I'd recommend three changes; Roof all or part of the run, to manage rain/ snow and general wetness; Fix any drainage issues; and use shavings and plant material to create deep litter, or at least a bed of litter, rather than that nasty sand. If spreading lime helps to manage the mess you've got now, great, but then move on to a better, easier to maintain, more chicken friendly surface. Mary
 

jeria

Songster
May 5, 2017
1,390
1,772
236
Independence MO
Newbie here, I am researching this. Lime can "sweeten soil" but::: I do know that spreading lime is part of the Kansas City Chicken ordinance, however, government laws don't mean it is good. It requires owners to spread lime every so many weeks to control odor and flies. I looked up the ordinance for another BYC member. I live in the next small city Independence and it is not in our requirements. There are some old forums on BYC that I haven't read yet about using lime. Here is an article I looked up this am that makes me very leery about using lime around my chickens.

http://articles.extension.org/pages/66918/use-of-lime-in-poultry-houses

I'm hoping to use a deep litter method in my run using straw as a mainstay as I can get small bales from a farm not too far and pine shavings in the coop. So hoping I don't have any issue, I also have clay/loess soil that does not drain well. Much of our year is normally pretty dry but springs can be very wet. I'm investing in a good pitch fork to turn the litter to help dry it when it gets wet. Good exercise as well .
 
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sunshineyarns

Songster
8 Years
Mar 23, 2011
123
1
111
Okay, here is a picture of our very messy run! My husband is going to dig out the french drain this week, which is why there is a muddy puddle there. It isn't draining properly because its probably clogged. But, the ground is rock hard and I don't know that the deep liter method would work. This run is huge (size mentioned above) and its attached to the side of our house. It gets very windy where we are, and when we do put plant material back there, it honestly blows away. I love, love the idea of this method though. Do you just use grass cuttings/leaves, etc? I'll go read that article now as well. We live on 2 acres, so we have lots of long grass cuttings, but I know that isn't great to give them.

Thanks for the info on lime too!

Oh, and in terms of covering our run. It is partially covered with our roofline. But, with how we have it and where we are, it isn't possible to cover the whole thing.

P.S. In other news, I have 2 chickens with some issues as well. My old girl Ruby has been loosing feathers and weight. I have an older thread in the Emergencies thread, that I didn't get a ton of feedback on. If anyone can check that out, please let me know! I feel like we should put her down soon.... she is still laying and seems generally happy, besides the itching (and it is not fleas or mites). And, my Storm (olive-egger) has a cyst or something above her eye. I can't get to her right now, but we just noticed it yesterday. It is always something, right?!
 

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