What to use on the floor...


7 Years
Oct 23, 2012
Rutherfordton NC
I was wondering what I should use on the floor of my pen.....I use the hay/straw for their nests... Should I use something different on the ground? I dont want them to think the ground is a nest box too. I was thinking about using leaves and racking those up every so often. Would a light layer of leaves work? I dont want it to get all nasty and muddy in there.........


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 17, 2009
hopkins county KY western KY
hello when we first put the runs up they had grass but our pens are permanent so eventually when we put new material in we ordered fill dirt, sand and small rock delivered in trucks. we mixed it and wheelbarrowed in, then as time and wear warrented we mixed 5 gal. pails and put more of same in as needed. sand is great but depending on area can get too hot in summer but a mix is a great sustainable flooring at least that worked well in all of the seasons in west ky.


7 Years
Sep 18, 2012
Leaves will decompose into dirt. Some cedar PINE shavings is the usual. I prefer horse wood pellets myself.
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11 Years
Jun 7, 2011
Taylors, SC
I used river sand, coarser than typical sand, and let the chickens turn it under in their daily doings. Nothing to clean; drains well, so no mud. As it gets turned under into the underlying soil, I will just add another truckload.

Of course, there is nothing for the compost heap. So I rely on the wood shavings from the coop for that.



10 Years
May 10, 2011
Chattanooga, TN
You can go several ways and this time of year lots of people use a combo. In the run you can use, leaves are great and free, hay, clipped grass, chipped bark from MOST trees- not straw--those hollow tubes are great for mites and lice to hide in You will find that the organic matter is great to recondition a bare bald mucky run with--set a bale of the hay on the ground for a few weeks, check out underneath, see how great the ground looks. If you are in wanting to start with a good draining foundation, you can dig down about 5 to 7 inches put in 5 inches of #57 washed gravel, cover with landscape fabric and cover with a 3 or 4 inches sand. then you can put in whatever organic material and know it will drain. If you run is clay like ours is, you will be using sharp sand (builders sand.) If this is for your run don't use shavings outside. They'll be wet and speed up the decay time being exposed to the weather. On the coop floor you can use everything mentioned--and the depth should be about 5 inches for soft landings--lots of folks use shavings and add leaves over the top. Whatever you decide, keep it turned daily--or have the chickens do it for you.
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