Seeking a paltry amount of poultry advice.

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.

Emdiesse

Settler
Jan 9, 2005
624
1
Surrey, UK
Hi All,

I was fortunate enough to get a hold of a greenhouse frame and chicken coop on freecycle and since the manky old shed in the back of our garden was at the brink of toppling over I decided it was the perfect place for the chickens to go.

Just trying to decide on what to cover the concrete with for the chickens to run and scratch about in.

I am thinking either simply cover it up with the plenty of mud I have lieing about or to fill it up with sharp sand from wickes



I plan to cover the run with a tarpaulin to keep the rain off them, and I plan to let them roam around the garden however on the odd occasion they'll be confied to the run and concrete (although predator-resistant) isn't really an ideal run material.

What are you're thoughts oh wise ones of BCUK!?

Cheers
 

Emdiesse

Settler
Jan 9, 2005
624
1
Surrey, UK
I suppose if I start with the dirt and change my mind I can always shovel it all out easy enough!

Also, I suppose I'm actaully in a bit of confusion about how many chickens I could ideally fit in there

The run is 8' x 6' (The coop is raised on a table so they get the full 8' x 6' ground space) (48 sq ft)
an overall coop size of roughly 3.75' x 1.8' (6.75 sq ft) including the 2 nest boxes

I understand the rule is 4sqft per chicken for the coop and 10sqft per chicken for the run

According to the runs size we could fit 4 chickens in there, and then the coop is ... 1.68 chickens.

We were originally planning for 4 chickens.
 

birchwood

Nomad
Sep 6, 2011
327
28
Kent
I think chickens like scratching about in the dirt which is not the same as mud.
You could get some bags of bark chippings and some straw.
We put all the sweepings from the hay shed in for them to scratch about in.
 
Dec 6, 2013
417
0
N.E.Lincs.
If it is only for lock up and evening shelter I would be tempted to leave the concrete and simply apply a couple of handfuls of sand and grit.....it is useful for them to walk on concrete occasionally it helps keep nails under control spreads their toes and helps give little cuts, grazes etc time to dry out and heal.....It also helps stop rats etc from coming up in the run.

D.B.
 

Emdiesse

Settler
Jan 9, 2005
624
1
Surrey, UK
Why don't you just lift those slabs, then loads of straw?
It crossed my mind, but I settled on keeping them so I had a real secure run from predators - my neighbours have lost chickens to foxes and their neighbours lost ducks to a fox.

So for those days when I may not be back to lock them up at night I like the idea of being able to have them out in the run and then let them take themselves to the coop at night.

After some more reading still I have seen that hardwood chips in the run is another option - which I think I will start with just to give myself more of an idea of what I am doing.


They sound pretty easy, 5 bags of that would cover my entire run with 2-3" for them to scratch about in and you can even hose it down if you want (It won't become slushy like bark chipping)
 
Dec 6, 2013
417
0
N.E.Lincs.
Deep litter like you are talking about does look very nice and seems like a good idea initially but it can cause a lot of problems. Their sleeping quarters and pens really do need to be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis for both their sake and yours....this tends not to happen when it's deep litter, it looks ok so it gets put off. diseases such as Coccidiosis build up. if it can be swilled easily with Vanodine or something similar then problems will be fewer and keeping the birds will be a lot easier (and cheaper) and they (and subsequently you) will be a lot healthier. There is also the advantage that the manure they produce is easily shoveled up and can be used elsewhere in the garden.

D.B.
 

Emdiesse

Settler
Jan 9, 2005
624
1
Surrey, UK
I see. So if I were to go with sharp sand then the bit I am unsure about is how I go about cleaning it?

With the wood chips I thought I could just dig the whole lot out and take it to my allotment compost heap.

With the sand option I am not sure how to go about keeping it clean? Other than scooping and sifting the poop out is there any other sort of cleaning I should be doing?

Sent from my LG-D855 using Tapatalk
 
Dec 6, 2013
417
0
N.E.Lincs.
You would literally need only a couple of handfuls of sand and grit thrown down onto the concrete, it can be swept easily with a stiff brush onto a shovel and scattered onto the lawn or borders (sharp sand is great on lawns, even better with a bit of chicken manure in it). At least once a week the concrete should be swilled with a disinfectant (Vanodine is the one I use, it's also the one a lot of farmers use in boot washes and dips etc. when there is the scare of foot and mouth etc.).....For the price of a couple of chickens I would suggest you first buy a book on poultry keeping, it will make things a lot easier and save you from learning by making mistakes, the local library will probably have books that you can look through to at least get the basics. They are easy to keep but only if you make it easy.

The sharp sand idea is not the only way, just the easiest and one that works.

D.B.
 
Last edited:
We kept a dozen birds in a 12' x 12' run with no problems - although we have since enlarged it by 50% and keep about 18. If you use something that is compostable such as dead leaves, hay or straw you will be able to compost it whenever you clean the run just by piling it in a bin - it won't compost very well in a covered chicken run, because it's too dry. At least it is in our setup. Sawdust or wood chips work well, but they are pretty slow to break down. Keep the concrete - I wish I had it.
 

Emdiesse

Settler
Jan 9, 2005
624
1
Surrey, UK
Cheers all, I have a book 'Choosing and Keeping Chickens' by Chris Graham (in association with practical poultry magazine). It does go into a bit about the run or scratching shed mentioning gravel or chippings but not much more than that and even so it was tailored more towards a run with a mud ground so I fancied gathering a few more opinions on having the concrete base.

I feel a lot better informed now and a lot clearer on the importance of hygiene in the run.