What should I put on the bottom of my run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sunshine Chicks, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Sunshine Chicks

    Sunshine Chicks New Egg

    Mar 23, 2013
    Black Mountain, NC
    I am in the process of building my first coop and it is a raised coop 4'x8' with a fenced in run 8'x8' for six ladies. My hope and goal is that they can primarily live in their coop and run. My yard is clay and dirt and I am nervous about it turning to mud. The run has a roof, but what would yall recommend for the floor? Is dirt okay or should I fill it with gravel or sand or pave it?

    Also, since I am putting hardware cloth all around the run and a foot out, do I have to close the ramp door each night or is it safe enough not too? I have a lot of potential predators, but am building a really sturdy structure.

    Thanks! This is my first post, so your help is greatly appreciated.
  2. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome! I use sand and love it. It drains well, the girls like to scratch and roll around in it. I (sometimes) scoop it, but honestly--not too often. Sometimes when it's wet for many days, I'll sprinkle around some Sweet PDZ (horse stall refresher--you can search on it here) to neutralize any ammonia smell. Our coop/run is right outside our bedroom window--no smell. Here is a great long thread about the benefits/wonders of sand.
  3. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

    Aug 11, 2010
    Sonoma County, CA
    Looks like you've made a good start! You have not said your location, and that may make a difference. I'm in Northern California, and use vineyard mulch. They love scratching and digging in it, and it seems to wick away water in the rainy season. Then I swap it out about 2x per year and put it in my compost bin with the other kitchen/garden compost, which makes a great garden compost!
  4. nellynelly

    nellynelly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2012
    Bogota, Col
    anything but pavement (AC or concrete). if it gets muddy add sand or straw.
  5. bird_brain

    bird_brain Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 13, 2011
    I do almost the same thing on the bottom of run, except I use washed sand, it is a little courser and drains just a little better. I rarely scoop anything out of there, sometimes fill in the holes with more washed sand. I do have most of the run covered so they don't get the eggs all muddy with dirty feet.
  6. CoolClucker

    CoolClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2013
    Central USA
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  7. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Personally, I would just add compost and mulch to the run area. Some like sand, but I don't. I think chickens should have as much opportunity to do what they would be doing if they were free ranging around a farmhouse. They scratch around in dirt, leaves, grass, etc. Keep adding mulch and other types of litter and only clean out the run periodically, and you end up with great mulch and compost for your gardens. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn't smell that bad when you have enough litter. I would not pave it at all.
    If you have secured the run and coop area so that predators can't access your birds, you don't have to close them up each night.
  8. dead johnny

    dead johnny New Egg

    Mar 22, 2013
    North Coast
    We had a small raised coop inside a permanent chicken pen. We kept circulating bedding hay (cheap) in the pen. The group loved it. We lived in the Chico/Durham Ca area and we never had a muddy pen or excess dust in the summer. I have a shredder so all the straw from the pen ended up in the compost pile. We tended to let the chickens out of their pen frequently to cruise the yard and garden area. Bob
  9. Sunshine Chicks

    Sunshine Chicks New Egg

    Mar 23, 2013
    Black Mountain, NC
    Thank you everyone! I've had my flock for a week now (five laying hens and five pullets), and chose sand for both the coop and the run since we are in the rainy season and I want to see how dry my run will stay. So far, everyone seems really happy, although I am looking forward to letting the ladies outside to roam the yard and forage. I rake up any obvious big poo in the run in the morning when I take out the poo under the roosts, it takes under five minutes and is really clean, which is important to me since my yard is pretty small. I love all my chickens?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by