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GemmaJ

Wood chip and pea gravel

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We have just ordered a walk in run for our five hens. Currently we have wood chip on the floor of their run but it gets a bit muddy. The area we are going to move them to is currently a thick layer of pea gravel on top of weed control fabric. I was thinking of making the pea gravel layer a bit thinner (2-3 inches) and then putting a layer of wood chip on the top for them. We will also have a cover on the new run which we don’t now. What do you guys think?

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I would steer away from gravel. I have never used it, but people on here have said it turns in a poo sludge and is very difficult to clean. 
Even with woodchips, they will dig those through the gravel in no time and there would be no way of clearing out just the woodchip.

Your best bet would be placing the run on paving slabs and then filling it with wood chips.

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Yep - pretty much agree with what cattails said. Get rid of the gravel. Lay slabs on the weed membrane and then put woodchip on top of that.

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17 hours ago, Cat tails said:

I would steer away from gravel. I have never used it, but people on here have said it turns in a poo sludge and is very difficult to clean. 
Even with woodchips, they will dig those through the gravel in no time and there would be no way of clearing out just the woodchip.

Your best bet would be placing the run on paving slabs and then filling it with wood chips.

 

14 hours ago, mullethunter said:

Yep - pretty much agree with what cattails said. Get rid of the gravel. Lay slabs on the weed membrane and then put woodchip on top of that.

Totally agree with both posts.

We used to have gravel and it was awful.

Luckily we managed to use it on our drive otherwise it would have been totally wasted.

Make sure you make a nice deep layer of the woodchips and that they are the hard wood, woodchips.

We got ours from Flyte So Fancy about 4 years ago and haven't replaced them yet - although we did top it up with a couple of spare bags that were taking up space in my tiny greenhouse recently. 

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Hello I’m new and have ordered woodchips I’d like to do the deep litter method so will make the run a roof to keep it dry and will have 7cm of woodchips what what else do I need to do other than top it up every now and again? Could I ask why so many people say to put it on slabs? I thought with deep litter it should be on soil so all the worms and good bacteria can come up and break it all down into compost? I’m so confused and about to build it so would be good to know now! Thank you! 

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Lovely chooks - especially the Wyandotte 😍

I don’t know this for sure, but I think that deep litter tends to be used indoors so it’s dry and with bedding finer than woodchip. I’m not saying it can’t be done in a covered outdoor run, but I don’t know of anyone who does do it. 

The reason we mostly say to put it on slabs is because if you have woodchip straight on soil the chickens are most likely to just dig through the woodchip into the soil and mix the whole lot up into a muddy, woodchippy mess. I guess if it was really dry and you had a really deep layer of woodchip (it would have to be a LOT deeper than 7cm) it might be OK, and I think there is someone on the forum who has clay soil which goes like rock and they have woodchip direct on that, but personally I wouldn’t try it.

My woodchip (on slabs in a 4m x 2m run) which is currently pretty wet, is about 4 inches deep, and tends to be OK for about 18 months. That’s with 9 bantams who (when not in lockdown) free range when we’re not at work. In the summer I ‘poo pick’ the run once a week, more in the winter (and every day at the moment).

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I think I have a version of deep litter, but with soil and not wood chips. Mullethunter is right: woodchips mixed with soil is a bad idea and gives a muddy clumpy mess. 
I would either pave over and use woodchips or use just soil. But even with soil, I have dug in slabs to prevent the chickens from digging to deep. I kept space between the slabs to let water out and worms in. 

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Where I used to live I had 4 bantams in a 3m run (again they free ranged when we weren’t at work) on leaf littery soil. They were there for about a year and it was reasonably successful because it was very well drained and very sheltered by a tall fence on 3 sides and big trees overhead. Even when it was wet it wasn’t really muddy. But I did clean them out quite often and I don’t know how much longer it would have worked for.

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That’s very helpful thank you everyone. Everyone seems to do it so differently! I’m just looking for a system where I can keep the run floor mix for about a year with some maintenance once a month or so. I do have clay and their walk in run is going on the woodchip path we have already planned and purchased so I will have a big rethink! Thank you again. So much to learn! The Wyandotte is Ava she is so precious and so pretty I’m super in love! 

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My soil part is just the Go Up run with 20 cm of soil. The run is covered by a clear tarp for most of the year apart from summer. 
Luckily it never gets muddy, but definitely is damp. The rest of the run is just paving slabs and I can just sweep everything out. (Well... in winter more scoop and hack than sweep...)

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Mine have the Omlet side of the run on soil and their wooden run next to it, is on patio slabs with a deep layer of woodchips.

Quite a lot of the woodchips have been kicked onto the soil but they never go anywhere - they always stay on the top.

Not sure if that really helps though.  

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43 minutes ago, Luvachicken said:

Mine have the Omlet side of the run on soil and their wooden run next to it, is on patio slabs with a deep layer of woodchips.

Quite a lot of the woodchips have been kicked onto the soil but they never go anywhere - they always stay on the top.

Not sure if that really helps though.  

Everything helps! Thank you!

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