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little Red Hen

Cleaning of a permanent run

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I have my eglu on a permanent run which originally had chip bark inside.

Due to the fact that I don't think I made the bark layer thick enough and that my 2 girls just love to dig, the chip bark soon got mixed in with the soil.

The more bark I kept putting in, the more they dug, flicked it out and mixed it in!

I'm just abit concerned that the soil the run is on might become unhealthy for them as the poos just get raked in or dug in.

Should I try and take away the top few inches of soil and try with a deep layer or chipbark or hemcore?

Should I try and put abit of lime down at the same time or is this a bit risky bearing in mind how they love to dig? :?

Anyone else out there had the same problem or able to advise me? Thanks. :lol:

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Clearing the bark is back breaking work!


Why not try Aubiose or Hemcore.


I'd be inclined to just remove the top layer.


Sprinkle a bit of garden lime around every so often.


It is just calcium carbonate so it won't harm the hens, as long as they don't inhale it.


Hens love to dig and make dust baths for themselves.

Edited by Guest
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I have hemcore in my permanent run. It gets dug into the soil too eventually so every couple of months I lift the run by the door end and swing it round to the side so the run's clear.


I then remove the top couple of inches of soil/hemcore (to the compost bin/flowerbeds), dig it over with some garden lime and replace the hemcore, before putting the run back in place. (Your girls will help you :roll: )


It's quite hard work but you don't have to do it very often.

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I used to use bark, but have found that a mixture of bark and hemcore is more absorbent and lasts longer. Also, a little bark helps to stop the hemcore blowing about. Every couple of months, I rake all the loose stuff off, sprinkle some garden lime, and replace the top layer with new. The 'used' stuff goes in the compost, on the garden or to grateful friends/neighbours.

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I pulled all the bark and straw out yesterday...fun! Actually, the straw had matted it together a bit so the top poopy layer all just lifted off with a fork (I ended up resorting to straw in heavy rain about a month ago to keep thier feet out of the barky mud). I was intending on getting auboise next time, but our garden is quite exposed and I am sure it will all just blow out and away, might use it in the summer maybe! I am starting a slow compost for the chicken stuff I think.


LOl, when I pulled up the top layer of straw and muck I discovered a whole little eco-system thriving in the self-composting layer, tomato seedlings and butternut squash had come up! And there were lots of grubs...all for about 20 seconds until the girls 'helped' :D

I haven't used lime as I was told that it is a myth that it speeds up decomposition so all it will do is reduce acidity in the soil??? Anyone know? Should I use it?

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we use hemcore in the run and its excellent.


We first put down a layer of wood shavings on the bottom and then cover the top with a thick layer of hemcore (my girls never reach the soil! ) We clean out the whole run every 2 weeks, this isnt necessary as often but I like to have a clean run. :D

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Is hemcore or auboise ok to use in a run that hasn't got a roof?


I've nearly finished my 14ftx9ft run and have a couple of bales of chipbark, but was going to put auboise over the top if I can find some.


I only have wire mesh on the top of my run, and although relatively sheltered with buildings on 3 sides, the ground still gets very muddy when it rains. I may end up putting a roof on if I can find a way of getting it in my car!

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