What covering's on your run floor?

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Lucylou
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What covering's on your run floor?

Post by Lucylou » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:06 pm

Going through the first winter in this garden, am realising the clay soil is a nightmare!! I built an enclosed run & after the grass went the soil became a quagmire very quickly. I then put hardwood chips down, this worked well to begin with but now, what with this wet weather (only one end of the run is covered) & the chooks scratching its not good & poo picking is difficult, it just gets washed into the chips by the rain.

What does everyone who has an enclosed run have down on their floors? I know Marigold successfully has Auboise, anyone have anything different?

I had a similar thing at my last house but the run was bigger (& soil more normal!) & I didn't have this problem. I am planning to completely cover the top but need help to do it so not immediate (still doing inside the humans house!)
'A woman is like a teabag, only in hot water do you realise how strong she is'
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Marigold
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Re: What covering's on your run floor?

Post by Marigold » Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:35 pm

Hi Lucylou. I think there are three ways to improve the conditon of your run. The first would be to get a clear corrugated plastic roof on top, so it just doesn't get wet and muddy. I don't know what the annual rainfall is where you live, but here in Hampshire it's over 30 ins per year, which is a lot of water on any sort of soil.
Second, if you could then cover the base with a permeable weedprofing membrane, well pegged down round the edges, and then put something like Aubiose on top, they will be able to scratch and snuggle into it without being able to scratch up mud from below, thus helping to keep the bedding cleaner. You still have to poo pick the top, but with Aubiose this is quite easy. Over time, some of the poo will get scratched in before you get to it, but if the Aubiose is kept dry it will dessicate the poo so it's not objectionable. Every now and then I dig out the messiest parts and just top up the litter.
Lastly, bear in mind that, even with a roof on, rain will blow in the sides, especially the ones facing prevailing winds in Winter, and will affect quite a large area of the floor space. A gutter to the roof is a big help, as otherwise the runoff blows in to the run on the downward side of the slope. It also helps to keep things dry and comfortable if you can fix clear plastic tarpaulins to the run framework on the sides most at risk. These can then be taken down when the weather warms up and the hens need to be kept cooler.
It has really made an enormous difference to my run, now it's dry and sheltered from wind and rain. I know hens don't seem to mind getting wet, but I didn't like seeing them all soaked and bedraggled, and I do think it's better for them always to go to roost dry and warm, less condensation in the coop and so less risk of respiratory problems. And I expect they eat less if they don't have to use energy keeping warm and dry. Lastly, I really like going into the run in winter, it's its a little oasis out of the cold wind at the end of the garden, where I don't get rain dripping down my neck and I can just enjoy watching the hens.
Kimbab71
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Re: What covering's on your run floor?

Post by Kimbab71 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:17 pm

Hi Lucylou, as you know I'm new to this chicken keeping thing. I did an awful lot of research before getting mine and like yourself, we have very clay soil here so I had no intention of just putting them on that. I decided to put a membrane down first and then topped with a ton of sharp sand, which we got from a local supplier for around £60. I have a large container in the corner of the run with playsand in for them to dust bathe in, but they quite like the sharp sand, especially in one corner where the sun has warmed the sand. I bought a child's shavings fork from the local equestrian shop which works a treat for lifting off the droppings without taking loads of sand with it. I can then use a solution of poultry guard in a watering can over the run to keep any nasties and smells away.
Lucylou
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Re: What covering's on your run floor?

Post by Lucylou » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:03 pm

Thank you both, have the corrugated sheets just waiting for the "handyman" to get inspired!!
Think I will change over before Autumn, both your solutions sound a better option for me.
Marigold, does the Auboise blow about much? We have had some very blustery days here but I'm hoping this is not a regional thing!
'A woman is like a teabag, only in hot water do you realise how strong she is'
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Marigold
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Re: What covering's on your run floor?

Post by Marigold » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:20 pm

I haven't noticed it blowing about at all, the shredded stems are quite heavy, about the same as wood chippings I suppose. But as you know, my run is sheltered from the worst if the wind, it might blow a bit in a gale in an exposed area. Aubiose soon treads down with a bit of walking on.
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