Can I whine a little about being a renter? We rent a house on a 3/4 acre lot in a little development in a rural area...north west of Pittsburgh so still a pretty depressed area. The development was built in the 60s on terrible clay soils, and naturally, the septic systems are all failing... ours is failing especially hard since there are also wetlands in our back yard, just below the drain field. We've had issues since we moved in with water backing up into the basement; he came out and dug up the yard to check the pipes and had the septic tank pumped. That was 2 years ago... the tank is full to overflowing again. He knows about it and was here to see it leaking sewage water in the yard, but we haven't heard anything about it in weeks. Apparently the township keeps talking about plans to put in a central sewer (we already have public water) and so no one wants to spend the money to replace their septic systems if they're going to have to pay big bucks in a year to two to hook up to a sewer line. Personally, I don't see it happening any time soon for the simple fact that the people who live here don't have the money to tap in. Replacing the septic system probably wouldn't help much anyway considering our neighbor had to replace his last year to sell his house and the new owners are already having problems with their brand new septic system.
Why am I whining about this on a chicken group? Because I can't expand my chicken run until the septic issue is resolved... the tank is just on the other side of a big bush and weed area, the plan was to make the run go around the bush to let the chickens keep the weeds down. It wasn't until we were scouting out the run area that we saw the tank was overflowing. There is no way to get a fence through the bush to exclude the tank from the run and I can't let the chickens have access to it.
We've been tossing grass clippings in the run whenever DH mows but it doesn't last long and their run is back to bare dirt (mud lately with all this rain). I made a temporary little extension into the corn bed last week but they've already eaten that down and the extension also gives them access to our porch & steps which are super annoying to have covered in poop (apparently they like to hang out on the steps, and it shows!). They need more space, but I have nowhere else to go except around the bush & septic tank.
Their current run (without the corn bed) is about 80sq-ft with ~25sq-ft of that being under the coop. Technically, that should be enough for our birds (7 now since we lost two)... but it just doesn't feel like enough. Would it help to throw some sand down in there?