What to do for the winter?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by niccichick, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. niccichick

    niccichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 1, 2012
    Hi Everyone;

    This is NicciChick. Southern California has had some weird weather lately. Our summer was really, really hot for August and September. Now, with the time and weather change we are moving into the colder weather here. My girls are 1 year old now and their first winter in our coop was last year. Over this past year I have used the deep litter method in both their coop and outside it in their yard area; only composting what was in their nesting boxes and sleeping area once every two weeks, but allowing the grass clippings I sprinkle everywhere in their "yard" to compost down. They love to scratch through it when fresh for bugs and worms; and taking dust baths. Now that winter is coming and the rain as well I'm not sure if I need to remove all of that? Their coop itself if roofed and protected from wet and puddles when raining; but their "yard" is not. I'm concerned that when it starts to heavily rain it will turn into a mushy poop puddle of dried grass clippings and dirt. I don't want my girls walking about in knee deep gross mush during the hard winter season. What should I do? Do I remove it all down to the hard pack earth and put in a layer of gravel? That seems hard to clean. I'd appreciate any ideas anyone could share.

    Blessings,
    NicciChick
     
  2. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My run is quite muddy now it's raining more over here in England. What I have done is clipped down lots of twigs, branches etc from the trees in my garden and put them in the run. This created a kind of hard but springy surface of about two inches. Seems to be working and keeping their feet relatively mud free.

    Or... you could add a couple of paving slabs in a corner of their yard so they have a choice of hard or muddy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    If cost is not an issue replace the bedding in your run with sand. Not that bank run sand itself is expensive, it's the transport costs if you don't have your own truck. A yard, square yard, of sand will cover a 9X9 area 4 inches deep. That should be plenty of drainage to keep the run dry. Chickens love to dust bath in sand and it's easy to clean with a rake like a large cat box.
     
  4. niccichick

    niccichick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for all the ideas. I'll combine the two and use the sand and the pavers so that they have variety. They also have our huge avocado tree to hide under.

    Blessings,
    NIcciChick
     
  5. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am in L.B.C. The city will deliver a pick up truck load of free mulch, tree trimmings from the city works department. A lot of local municipalities do something similar. Check out your city's website to see if they do it.

    My best friend across the street, started having the city deliver twice a year. And she just keeps adding it on top. Since she has started, she hasn't had any stinky mud issues in her run in the wet season here in SoCal. I prefer to use anything biodegradable in the run. Most of time I use grass clipping and wood shavings in my run, but my girls also have a lot of free range time.

    My run is over concrete with a thick layer of bedding on top. I used sand initially for about 9 months, but sand didn't work out good for my situation. It smelled terrible when ever it was wet. And took days to dry out. I did regularly clean our sand out with a rake, almost daily for 9 months, but enough wetness from the poops leached into it, that when it got wet, the poop smell would be awful. I am not a fan of sand now.

    I do clean my run out completely every once in awhile and transfer it all to the compost area.
     
  6. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Never thought of sand! Next trip to the beach, I'm stealing some!
     
  7. MimiChick

    MimiChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Careful about using beach sand, there could be a lot of salt in it. I'm not sure that would be very good for the chicks. Remember, they use some of that sand like grit, and frequently ingest it with any food that is on the ground. Just a thought.
     
  8. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ah yes, good point. What sand to use then? Play sand or something?
     
  9. MimiChick

    MimiChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2009
    Glocester, RI
    I use construction sand, the kind you can get by the truckload or yard at most garden centers that sell loam and mulch. It's a lot cheaper that way. Good luck.
     
  10. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, i'll definitely try it!
     

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