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Static run - What flooring to use? (Read 1625 times)
Jon James
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Static run - What flooring to use?
Feb 21st, 2011 at 2:22pm
 
Hello all,

After a little more advice please.

Due to having a large garden, but with no lawn I have to have a static run and coop set up.
I have three chickens and the run area is 1 metre by 3 meters (inc space under the coop). However the are allowed out and about in the garden whilst i'm there.

Under the coop and run is a wooden frame that goes six inches into the ground with a wire mesh bottom to stop digging in and out. For two thirds of the floor space the frame is filled with soil with landscaping mesh over which is in turn filled with gravel. The idea being that the faeces get mixed into the gravel and break down and wash through. However I am finding that the faeces and gravel get compacted together and I'm concerned that this is no better than a muddy floor.
The other third of the floor space is a wooden frame with soil under that grass seed is sown into, the chickens can't get to it and I'm hoping that as it grows they can nibble it without digging it up and their droppings here will fertilise the grass.

So my question is this, can anyone suggest a better flooring? Would wood chips be better and dug out and disposed of from time to time? Or am I just being unrealistic as to how clean I can keep the floor? I mean chickens do poop a lot!
Will the frame and grass work?

Thank for taking the time to read my ramblings.

Kind regards
Jon
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Fuchsia
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #1 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 3:08pm
 
I tried grass at first, ie turf, in my enclosed run, which is larger than yours, and my 3 birds cleared it in no time. I think that if you're trying to grow from seed it'll take ages to get thick and strong and meanwhile your birds are restricted to a very small space. I also think that the birds will scratch the soil through into the gravel and you'll just end up with a nasty muddy mess.

After the grass fiasco, I got rubber chippings, and for the past 18 months or so they've been excellent. You just peg weedproof membrane over the surface of the earth and pour them over. Once a week, or whenever, you hose the run down and water with a can of disinfectant. The chips are warm under the bird's feet, and the run stays mud-free even when the ground underneath is wet from hosing or rain. They like scratching around in it. Have a look at Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register for more details. I think people have posted in the past that you may be able to get them cheaper at B&Q, so shop around.
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chapelchicken
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #2 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 7:07pm
 
my runs are slabbed then covered in 4 or 5 inch of wood chippings from my friendly tree surgeon every so often depending of stocking etc i clear out and dig in garden / veg patch etc brill for the garden and great for the chickens to scratch about in
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Em0777
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #3 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 8:08pm
 
Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register

I'm going to get this once my WIR is made Smiley
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Jon James
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #4 - Feb 21st, 2011 at 10:26pm
 
I think that rubber chippings will be the way to go for me.

Going to have a look into it now.

Thanks for your help.
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Em0777
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #5 - Feb 22nd, 2011 at 12:14pm
 
Quote from Flyte so Fancy...

"we do not recommend them (rubber chippings) for use in a poultry run although they have been widely advertised for that use (and we have tried this ourselves) we do not consider them a suitable surface for hens for many reasons.

Firstly you need to place a membrane down on the ground under the rubber chips and this then prevents the hen poo being washed away either by rain or with a hose. If putting on slabs or concrete then it must have the ability to allow water (and mess) to flow away easily. We found it smelled if not cleaned with a hose every other day (hardwood woodchip does not). A big question is, what do you do with them when you don't want them anymore or if you want to refresh/renew them? You can't add them to the compost, all you can do is fill up landfill sites hence not quite so eco-friendly. And finally, because the rubber chips still have peices of rayon cord from the tyre carcass attached, not only did the hens try to eat them but they also got stuck to their claws and they did get dirty.

Although we think these are great to save work in the garden and for the pathways to the hens or around their pen and will keep it looking nice - and this is just our personal opinion - we do not think it is a good surface for a chicken run.

We do definitely recommend hardwood woodchip though (see link below), this is an excellent surface for hens with no downside that we have found yet"
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chapelchicken
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #6 - Feb 22nd, 2011 at 6:33pm
 
here here
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Jon James
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #7 - Feb 22nd, 2011 at 9:04pm
 
Uuuuummmmm

Time for a rethink.

Anyone know where to get hardwood chips at reasonable prices?

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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #8 - Feb 22nd, 2011 at 10:01pm
 
Ring local tree surgeons, smaller ones probably better than the big companies.  Most are happy to have somewhere to dump it!  Check that it won't include RHododendron, Yew, Laburnum, Laurel or spiny things though.  Pine, Willow, Oak etc are ideal.

If your run is covered I find that a good deep layer of woodchip lasts 6 months to a year before replacement.  Depends on your stocking levels of course.
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Em
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #9 - Feb 23rd, 2011 at 6:58am
 
I've always found that the wood chip from tree surgeons rots down quite quickly so I get mine from a mulch company called Madingley Mulch, only any good if your local to Cambridge though and they are hardwood chips. You can get non coloured hardwood chips in B & Q too.
Em
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Fuchsia
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #10 - Feb 23rd, 2011 at 9:13am
 
Em0777 wrote on Feb 22nd, 2011 at 12:14pm:
Quote from Flyte so Fancy...

"we do not recommend them (rubber chippings) for use in a poultry run although they have been widely advertised for that use (and we have tried this ourselves) we do not consider them a suitable surface for hens for many reasons.
Firstly you need to place a membrane down on the ground under the rubber chips and this then prevents the hen poo being washed away either by rain or with a hose. If putting on slabs or concrete then it must have the ability to allow water (and mess) to flow away easily. We found it smelled if not cleaned with a hose every other day (hardwood woodchip does not). A big question is, what do you do with them when you don't want them anymore or if you want to refresh/renew them? You can't add them to the compost, all you can do is fill up landfill sites hence not quite so eco-friendly. And finally, because the rubber chips still have peices of rayon cord from the tyre carcass attached, not only did the hens try to eat them but they also got stuck to their claws and they did get dirty.
Although we think these are great to save work in the garden and for the pathways to the hens or around their pen and will keep it looking nice - and this is just our personal opinion - we do not think it is a good surface for a chicken run.

"


I can only say that I haven't found any of these points to be a problem.

The hen poo DOES wash away easily through the membrane, (instead of just piling up in wood chippings for weeks until they are changed.) I agree about not putting them on slabs or concrete, with any flooring this would make drainage a problem, but they are fine on a well-drained surface. The hens are walking around 4 inches above the membrane, on top of the rubber chips, so they don't get wet or cold feet because the rubber isn't absorbent and so drains instantly, even if the earth below is wet.
I suppose the frequency of washing depends on how many hens you have per square metre, but again I haven't found smell a problem. Once a week is ample for my 3 hens in a 12 sq. metre run. Anyway, they're going to do the same amount of poo whatever you use, and I'd rather get it cleaned and disinfected on a weekly basis rather than let it pile up.
I don't know what sort of chippings Flytes of Fancy tested, but the ones from Mud Management are large enough not to get stuck in the birds' claws and don't have any trailing rayon bits for them to eat. The fact that they last for ever is a big advantage, you don't have to keep on shovelling out dirt woodchip (hard on the back and the lungs) and replacing with new. If you do ever want to get rid of them, well they're made from old tyres which otherwise would have finished up in landfill, and by using them for a few years you'd have at least made some contribution to recycling. Or you could pass them on to someone else for hens or for pathways.
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FruGal
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #11 - Feb 23rd, 2011 at 9:35am
 
Try larger sized gravel?
Only buy rubber chips if the company selling them will take them back when you've finished with them.
Put wire/plastic mesh over the grass, chooks can still graze through the holes & walk happily on the mesh, but puddling & trench digging are prevented. Its also a good way to stop cats digging loos in the seedbeds!!!
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Jon James
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Re: Static run - What flooring to use?
Reply #12 - Feb 23rd, 2011 at 10:24am
 
Ok now i'm a little confused.

Might be trial and error.

Might look for Rubber Chippings locally, see whats about.
Either method used will be going over several inches of gravel on well draining soil so will be able to wash it through well.

What about a dust bath?
I was going to put a washing up bowl with pea grit (sharp sand) in it, with holes in the bottom.

Also is it best to have the run covered or un-covered? The chooks like the extra protection when its raining but then miss the sun when its out. The cover I have is opaque so allows some light through.

Decisions decisions
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