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Chicken yard

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

A question about the fenced part of a chicken yard.
Ours is mud (baby chicks inside for now).
Instead of placing grass on it  (which will die eventually) is it ok to put Mulch on it? If so, how do you keep it clean?
Any other ideas?
Thank you so much for your help...

post #2 of 7

I have 3 years experience in landscape supply/mulch. 
1.  Do NOT use cedar, you might already know that though.  Cedar will kill your chickens. 
2.  Any type of shredded bark, such as hardwood or pine will eventually break down and turn to soil. 
3.  I would not use any type of nugget such and large or mini pine nuggets for obvious reasons.

Is there any reason the yard is so muddy?

The biggest problem you're going to run into is mold.  Where do you live?  I live in NC and the humidity here is so high in the summer that mulch grows its own mold without the help of a muddy yard.

If you were to put down straw or pine shavings the water in the mud will cause that to mold. 

Maybe others have had the same problem and can respond.

post #3 of 7

We have a thin layer (4"-6") of topsoil over clay in both the turkey and chook runs.  We rake in a couple hundred pounds of larger grain sand into each every spring and fall.  Both runs are sloped, but without the sand they would be quagmires with a week of rain. Other than tossing in some straw for the chooks to dig through (gets raked out every few days) we try to keep anything that will soak up water out of the runs (a covered run would be a different story altogether).

Good Luck!

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help!
And yes we live in NC too. We just had an area dug up for the chicken house and the fenced in area.
So that is the dilemma.
Topsoil, then sand, it sounds like would be best?

I have disagreed with my husband about the mulch because I was worried about them having to walk around on it with their poor lil feet, now I also don't want mulch because of the mold and toxicity issue.

So regular topsoil in and of itself would be better than mulch?

I appreciate your responses!

post #5 of 7

Is there any one direction that rain sort of drains down into your chicken yard?  If so, a small, shallow ditch around that outside edge might detour some of the runoff.  Or, is your coop roof slanted in a direction that rain runs off it into the pen?  If so, a piece of drain along the edge of the roof would turn some of that out of the pen.
I would think if you had access to sand and/or topsoil,  the topsoil, sand, etc, would eventually maybe build up the chicken yard a bit higher than surrounding ground, so that the water would run off it, also.
But I know that whatever you do, it will be a muddy bog for a while when it rains.    I put down hay, about a bale of old hay, for them to walk on to keep out of the mud, and scratch around in, then I rake it up in a few days when the rain has let up, and pitchfork it out into a wheelbarrow to dump, before it moulds.  Sort of a job, but I feel better if they don't have to track around in a quagmire.   Keeps the coop, and the eggs, cleaner, also, if you can keep their feet out of the mud.  Hopefully someone will have some more helpful suggestions.


My Mom always said: Pretty is as pretty does.

My Mom always said: Pretty is as pretty does.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am thinking more of putting topsoil and then sand . The yard will be a little bit out from the coop, so that runoff shouldnt be a problem.  I am a little perplexed by my husbands insistence of placing some kind of shavings or other ground cover down. Oh well, live and learn.
I told him finally do it the way he  wants to, but I dont think its a good idea.
Frustrated.. hmm
Thanks for your help!

post #7 of 7

Birdygirl, don't bother with topsoil, just add large grain sand.  We have existing topsoil over clay (if the turkeys were to reach the clay level their run would turn into a low rent La brea pit  - substitute clay for tar).  Judy is spot on, even with plenty of sand it can still go goopy with enough rain, but the chook's and turk's feet stay cleaner and the eventual sunny day will dry out the sand layer rapidly, minimizing potential for disease.

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