The sand in my run got wet, and now it stinks!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by msjones, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. msjones

    msjones Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2009
    I thought my roofed, sand run would stay dry. Nope. It was windy and it dumped and dumped rain here last week, and the sand got pretty wet. Now it stinks.

    It's a little run for my 3 hens -- just about 20 sq ft. It didn't stink at all when it was dry. I've been trying to rake and turn the sand each day, but it's not doing much good.

    I have some ideas to keep the rain from blowing in during the next storm, so will it be worth it to start with new sand -- shovel it all out and start with new dry stuff?

    Or can I just add fresh sand on top of the smelly wet sand?

    Or is this just how it is during the rainy season? I sure hope not.
  2. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

    Mar 1, 2009
    Muskogee OK
    get some stall dry, it is a mix of clay and diametous earth, sprinkle it on the sand- it deoderizes and kills bacteria and bugs, most farm supply has it in the horse section- i use it here in oklahoma and it helps alot.
  3. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Is it real sand and not dirt? The reason I ask is because I paid a man to haul in a dumptrck load of sand and he brought me some really fine dirt. I knew it as soon as I saw it but unfortunately I wasn't at home when he delivered it. We used that to fill in holes and such and I have real sand in all my coops and runs and have NO trouble whatsoever with any smell. We have at least 6 inches in each coop and run. We also have had 8 inches of rain so far this month, and have had no trouble. Maybe if you add a few more inches of sand so it can drain good that will help.
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    We've had a lot of rain here lately, and our backyard is flooded and very soggy in places. The sand in our run is only dry right in the middle. But there's no smell, so far, maybe because I've been putting dropping pans under the roosts and cleaning these out daily, and I've been going around the pen with a cat litter scoop and picking up all the poops I can spot.
  5. msjones

    msjones Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2009
    It's definitely sand. It's the sandbox kind -- earlier this fall I couldn't find the 'construction sand' mentioned in the other sand threads.

    But, I found some of the construction sand last weekend. I haven't used it yet, because the old stuff seemed fine. Now that the old stuff stinks, I'm not sure whether to just put the new sand on top, or rake out all the old stuff first.

    Nothing around here really dries out from October through maybe I'm just stuck with the stink?
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    A good layer of Ag lime, or pelletized lime will kill the odor.

    Do NOT use "hydrated" lime
  7. just one of the peeps

    just one of the peeps Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 19, 2009
    I assume your run is covered and that is going to make it harder for your sand to dry out on the days you have some sun... Maybe you could try shoveling out half the sand onto a tarp to dry in the sun on a drier day and I would highly recommend sprinkling stall dry in with the sand. I've been using it in the coop and run. It is great at drying things out and noticeably reduces any odors!
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    You're right in that roofing the run is not enough when it rains or snows. We're using 'snow boards' against the bottom half of the sides and it makes a huge difference, plus you could use vinyl, heavy plastic or polycarbonate, especially for a small run. Girls will get the light but the 'sideways rain;' is largely baffled.

    I'd keep the sand you have and top it off, after checking to see that your drainage ditches and eavestrough (if you use it) are working satisfactorily. It probably isn't the sand so much as where the water drains.

    In addition, as mentioned, stall products like Stall Dri, Stall PDZ and Stable Boy work wonders, but also work best when applied on dry surfaces. Like you, I have learned that chicken-keeping works best when the girls are very dry!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  9. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    The run is too small, period. I have 80 sq ft per bird and am still likely not to be able to maintain grass even so. Covered blocks sunlight which they need, same as we do. Mine is sloping so does not have water standing in it ever. That is a major health no-no. In summer, I notice a smell when it has not rained in awhile. After a rain, it is gone, washed down into the soil. You really need 10 times the size you now have whether you think so or not for it to be healthy. If not possible, then a tractor is the solution. Move every three days or so.
  10. msjones

    msjones Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2009
    Quote:There's no grass in the run -- just sand. And leaving it uncovered is simply not an option hear in rainy Seattle. And, thankfully, I don't have any puddles at all -- just rain blowing into the front part of it.

    I wish I had space for a tractor, or a 200 sq ft run, but my entire lawn is only about 500 sq feet. [​IMG] You must have a nice spacious place!

    I plan to rake out some of the sand, put the dry stuff with the bigger particles (no more sandbox sand) on top of what's left, add some stall dry, and get some kind of sturdy, clear plastic to block blowing rain when we have it.

    Thanks, everyone, for the great suggestions. I love BYC!

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