Got a question for folks who have worked with pea gravel before. We recently converted a shed barn for horses into a chicken barn by putting in a fence along the open front and adding an overhang. However, the barn is floored in loose pea gravel (anywhere from two inches to over twelve inches: the ground appears to not be very level). Under the gravel is solid clay soil that does not drain at all.
With winter coming on, I was planning to try out deep litter. However, I can't decide whether I should remove all that pea gravel or leave it. If I leave it, we'll have pea gravel dispersed all through the litter by spring. But if I take it out, we may end up with runoff getting into the barn, and soaking the litter, and it seems to me like that would be even worse! The barn is located on a slight slope and I can just see water running along the surface of the ground and into the barn; there will also be runoff from the roof and walls to contend with. I am pretty sure that the previous owners found runoff to be a problem, and trucked in all that gravel so that their horses would have dry footing.
So I'd appreciate hearing pros and cons to leaving the gravel in place, and also whether anyone has tried deep litter on top of gravel, and how that worked out. Thanks!