Advice for a very wet run and coop...


10 Years
May 15, 2009
Shenandoah Valley
We have had 5.5 inches of rain since Monday and the run/coop area is just soggy. I have put some extra straw around the coop area but are they going to be ok? There is nothing we can do to cover it-there are severe thunderstorms coming through every evening this week, adding more and more sogginess...please help!
I live in Louisiana and it rained nearly every day for a solid month - lucky I live on a slope, but the chicken run remained wet for weeks. Now it is poop mixed with semi-damp earth, but I added plenty of diatomaceous earth to it and when it dries a little on top it keeps the flies away. If it rained all day long, I locked them in the hen house because it was nice and dry inside, cool, and large enough to keep them from killing one another...also, their food/water supply is in the hen house. The only thing is that since they could not go outside, the pine shavings had to be changed out twice in a 1-month period to keep it from getting so 'foul' in the hen house. They did not suffer any ill effects so far from being in a soggy pecking area, but I don't like it, and I don't think it is too healthy for them to be pecking around in soggy dirt mixed with chicken poo, so I'm about half way through with the 'extension' to their run, which is grassy and is quite large. Also, I give them a little plain, lowfat yogurt mixed with applesauce to keep their tummies regulated with 'good' bacteria.
Is there some way you can get a large waterproof tarp and erect a temporary tent-type structure? If you can, be sure the middle support is lifting the tarp up higher than the side supports so the water will run off..a decent tarp would last quite a while.
The only thing you can do is cover it I'm afraid... put a tarp over the run / coop area and "tent" it so the water runs off and away from the coop/run. Its not good for your chickens to be in wet conditions - they're feet can get sores on them from being constantly wet. You can try putting down pine needles if you have any but be very careful because chickens tend to like to eat them (at least mine do) - it will help keep thier feet out of the mud and muck for a little bit until it dries up a bit. Then you can rake them out of the coop. Dont put shavings down as that just creates a huge mess and adds to the muddiness already there (unless you want to rake it all out the next day).

I know how you feel - we do not need any more rain
I have sand in the coop (play sand) and even with all the warmth the past few days (and our run is covered with a tarp), its still not drying out as I'd like it to, so today I have to go get Stall-Dry to help it along.

Good luck to you!
a couple of weeks ago, we got 17 inches in a week when a really unusual front came through. we don't even normally get that much water dumped on us during a hurricane!

anyway, my runs were under water. it was horrible. my husband and sons dug ditch after ditch to try to divert the flow, but after my pond filled to over flowing, it was an effort in futility.

i lost alot of birds out of my grower pen, including all my marans and a few light brahmas. my garden is a total loss. and for us, that's a big loss.

finally, in desperation, i started piling hay in one half of the pen and dumped some DE on top of it. when it would get soggy, i'd pile in more and sprinkle with more DE. those halves of the pens are probably 8 inches higher than the ground around it, at this point.

it worked. i don't even want to think about how nasty it's going to be to muck all that out of there when it dries out, but for now, my birds are secure and that's what counts.

we're tossing around the idea of putting in french drains when it dries out and we're certainly going to bring in a couple of loads of sand to raise the elevation of the pens.

this has never happened to us before, but if it happens again, i hope we'll be better prepared than we were this time
I don't get rain like that here, but in my pen I have things they can get on. Such as tree stump, a big rock, hutches a pole laying on its side that is about 5 inches off the ground, their perching shelves, etc.
Ditch digging helps, sometimes.
What a mess, good luck.
I put down a good layer of landscape straw in my run. It helps keep them off the mud and they like to scratch in it. I use it for their bedding in the coop and on the floor also. I live in the country and straw can be had pretty cheap, 2.50 - 5.00 for a 60lb bale depending on who you get it from. one bale lasts me about a month. I use the straw from inside the coop to put out in the run and then fresh straw back in the coop. With the wet spring we have had there is plenty of straw available for sale.
Is it really going to hurt them though? Being in the mud? My chickens have some grass left in their run so it isn't all mud, it's just nasty. I wish we could have a week of dry weather, but once again we are forecasted for more this evening...ugh!
I found out about shavings the hard way when I dumped a couple of bales in there trying ti try it out. I have tarps but they are 2 yrs old and leak so I am getting new ones. I lost several birds to the mud - mostly teenage chicks. I had to put them all up on the wire and still lost some after that. Chicken mud is so gross and nasty.

I am going to put gravel down in mine on the suggestion of others on this board. I have sections that the mud goes over the top of my boots so they have been free ranging out of the coop/run all week. We have no rain forcasted for a few more days so hopefully I will get my new tarps before then.......

Good luck to you!!!

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