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Permanent run - what to think about?

9 replies

BlogOnTheTyne · 28/04/2012 18:40

We are thinking about getting chickens but would definitely have them in a permanent, walk-in run, with the chicken coop inside that.

What do we need to think about, if we won't be moving the run around, in terms of rat-proofing, hygiene, what the chickens will walk on etc etc?

OP posts:
thereinmadnesslies · 28/04/2012 18:46

We've done this. We put paving slabs down and then covered with hard wood woodchip (which you can buy from flyte so fancy). Once a month we treat the woodchip with a santising powder that kills worms etc. then every three/four months we take out all the woodchip, pressure wash the run and then replace with fresh.

We also put a roof on the run, using corrugated plastic sheets. We found that if the woodchip got very wet it went slimy.

VivaLeBeaver · 28/04/2012 18:49

To slab it or not slab it is probably the main question.

Mine isn't slabbed and sometimes I wish it was. It gets like a mud bath when it rains. I also feel that slabbing it would be more hygienic as could be hosed down. Saying that they love scratting in the soil. But if you slabbed it you could still put chippings down I guess. I put chippings or sand down at intervals to soak up the mud.

I don't poo pick but they have a large run and aren't overstocked. I do dig it over every now and then and sprinkle garden lime to freshen it all up.

I've also recently added a roofed extension so they have a dry, non muddy section which is nice.

Boothie · 28/04/2012 19:23

We have a large permanent run in our garden for our 22 bantam chickens. We have just put wood chippings down over the grass and rake it every couple of weeks. We bought some heavy duty fish pond netting that we fastened over the run. We have had our chickens for nearly a year now and they are happy and healthy.

boomting · 28/04/2012 19:57

Not moving the run can lead to a build-up of parasite in the ground (worms etc.) so you will need to be very proactive with the prophylactic worming etc.

As there is the potential for it to get quite muddy and slippy, it's a good idea to make sure that the coop can be accessed fully from outside the run.

I've come across a few different systems for permanent runs

  • concrete base - easy to keep clean, but they do need to be let out regularly so that they can indulge their instinct for scratching at the ground and foraging. You might want to put some straw down for them to scratch around in (although they will enjoy this, whatever system they are in; if it's a bare earth based system, then they will tread it into the ground, which is good for the ground).
  • bare earth - it's a simple option, but I've nearly come a cropper and fallen over into god-knows-what so many times with this option, hence the above thing about having an outside door. The hens can have a tendency to build dustbaths, which then turn into mini swimming pools unless your ground drains very well.
  • bare earth with bark chippings - I've only got experience of this system with ducks (although there's no reason why it shouldn't be used with chickens), and it does have the advantage that it provides some traction for your shoes so it's less slippy.


They will need somewhere to create a dustbath - this should be some permanently dry bare earth. A good place is under the coop - by building it so that it's a couple of foot off the ground, they get a dry place to shelter / build a dustbath, more space, you don't get backache / muddy knees whilst cleaning out, chickens feel more secure under cover (trees / undergrowth / under a coop etc.) because they're not at risk from aerial predators, and rats won't live under something that far off the ground.

Bear in mind that the earth will need quite a long period (1 year +) to recover properly from long-term overdunging, although you can speed up the process somewhat by digging it over, adding normal soil and reseeding.
lydonsmum · 28/05/2012 21:35

I use bare earth with a deep layer of aubiose which gets changed every 2/3 months. The girls can dust bath in it too. The run is covered so it doesnt get too wet.

Lucky13 · 30/05/2012 00:42

I also have a covered, bare earth run with straw/hemcore. The cover is removable, so I take it off in the summer and only put it back on when heavy rain is forecast otherwise it would be a mud bath!

Grockle · 30/05/2012 21:13

I have a permanent run. It went straight on the ground with over 1 ft of weldmesh wire sticking out on all sides, under the turf so the fox can't dig in.
It has a roof (corrugated plastic) so doesn't get muddy. The hens make little dustbaths so the ground is uneven but it seems to work. I chuck in grass clippings and veg peelings so they get plenty of greenery to nibble on as well as layers pellets.

They roost in an Eglu cube but I'm changing it for something smaller.

wheremommagone · 01/06/2012 08:07

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

horseylady · 01/06/2012 22:10

Yes permanent run, we used crash barriers!! They have the coup inside where they lay etc. Originally an old over grown veg patch which they ate down in 3 weeks!! We put bark chippings down once a month in winter, probably every couple of months in the summer. We muck it out every two or three months. It gets muddy, it smells but they have loads of room, are safe and very happy!! When they free ranged they trashed the garden, the foxes were a nightmare at night trying to get in (thankfully never did!) Everything now is much easier to deal with!! They create their own dust baths and love scratching the bark and shavings!! We also put grass and garden cuttings in which they eat happily!!

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