What's the best ground cover for a run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ajlynco, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. ajlynco

    ajlynco Chirping

    Sep 7, 2011
    Reno, NV.
    I have a 6X12 run that's built on a slight down hill slope (4" in 12' ). I have a couregated roof with 1' overhangs on each side and the sides are all open. I currently have a dirt base but am leaning towards adding 4"-6" of sand or a gravel base with a sand topping, to aid the drainage issue. Living in Reno,NV., The sand is going to get wet in the winter and possibly freeze solid. I'll wrap the run in plastic during the winter to keep it as dry as I can. Is the sand idea a good one or should I try something else. I'm open for suggestions.
  2. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Songster

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    I put sand on top of my solid dirt (overworked lawn) base and use wood chips on top of that and it has stayed dry and odor-free as long as it has been covered. This is the most important part. Drainage is great, but keeping significant amounts of water from entering in the first place is the key.

    ETA: I think 4-6" of sand will be fine for your run - try to get "river sand" if you can as it's coarser than playground & construction sands and allows more drainage. It is sold & delivered by a distributor here in SC, so you may be able to find one there as well. For 4-6" you should be able to buy by the cubic yard.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. blueferral

    blueferral Chirping

    Feb 15, 2012
    Simpsonville, SC
    I covered my run in river sand as well. Does a great job. After a while it forms a pretty strong base, but still has great drainage. Especially over top of our red clay.
    1 person likes this.
  4. joan1708

    joan1708 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    DFW - mid cities, Tx
    There is a thread somewhere regarding sloped runs. Some one was saying all the litter and such ended up at the bottom of the hill against the fence. If it's a gently slop you think about terracing it.
  5. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    I highlyrecommend sand. It's what we use in both of our runs & we have the same set-up you're describing with the plastic sheeting in the winter. It does freeze if it has gotten wet but each spring we simply till it and add a fresh layer of new sand. I have read horror stories about gravel, particularly gravel under sand as it becomes a mixture very quickly, with the gravel working its way up through the sand. Gravel is also tougher on the chickens' feet. Plus, chickens love to dustbathe in the sand (most months of the year when it is not frozen).

    You can see our coop set-up and the slope of our property in my coop tour here:

    Best wishes with your project!
    1 person likes this.
  6. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    We use construction sand. The girls love it! We covered the run with plastic and the ground never froze inside! I'm hoping to add more this spring. I clean it daily, but I'd like a fresh batch inside.
    2 people like this.
  7. iveasign

    iveasign Hatching

    Dec 3, 2011
    Where are the river sand suppliers?
  8. chicharomirinda

    chicharomirinda Songster

    Jul 29, 2011
    Reno, NV
    landscape companies and companies that sell rock will deliver sand for you.
  9. joan1708

    joan1708 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    DFW - mid cities, Tx
    Does anyone use mulch like bagged hardwood mulch or cypress mulch sold in nurseries?
  10. justafeedboy

    justafeedboy In the Brooder

    Oct 8, 2011
    in my own little world
    A large portion of my run is hardwood mulch. I add it twice a year. My birds love to dig thru it and search for bugs. In the covered section I use sand. I have no preference and both work.

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