Advice for a very wet run and coop...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by logansmommy7, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. We use sand here to put down in the runs, I get it by the dump truck load. It really helps that there is a sand pit about 2 miles from our house. We go thru about 3 loads a year, I always wonder where it goes? 16 tons of sand per load or more, at least 3 a year and we have been doing it for years now. You would think it would be a sand pile 50 feet high but nope. it's still right at ground level. [​IMG] Maybe we are making our own sandpit for future generations but it will be smelly sand.

    Steve in NC
  2. Freebird

    Freebird In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2007
    Springdale, AR
    My coop is entirely inside my run, so I have to enter the run to get the eggs. I got tired of walking/slipping around in the mud after a heavy rain, so I installed some edging and made a 5ft wide gravel filled path from the door of the run all the way across the front to the coop entrance, so now I can walk to get the eggs without wading through mud. I used gravel from a seasonal creek on my property and some leftover metal edging I had laying around. It's really worked out well so far - the gravel does the trick! The hens seem to enjoy scratching around in the pea gravel as well.
  3. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara


    I'm about to order sand from the yard as well - been using bagged play sand and they go through it FAST, especially raking it out as often as I do. [​IMG] Do you get masonary sand - like what they would use for a swimming pool base (above ground?) or something different? Play sand is $2.50 for a 50 lb bag here and I ususally add 6 bags at a time, which usually gives me about a 2 - 3 inch base depending on how much the girls kick out or I rake out.

    How do you keep yours from smelling so bad once it gets wet? I use DE but I find that wet sand gets to smelling bad, so I have to keep raking it to dry it out, then add DE - and even sometimes Pine Shavings to the mix just to soak up some water, then rake it all out again and end up replacing the sand again LOL! It does drain much easier and they dont get as muddy using sand vs. just dirt I've found, but they do like to dig down and mix the dirt/sand together as well.

    Never ending battle [​IMG]
  4. We use what they call "fill sand" it has clay in it, the masonary sand is washed so it's pretty much pure sand. There is a big difference in the price so we use the fill sand.

    Ours doesn't really smell until the mud starts coming back up thru it then we just add more on top.

    Years ago we added mulch and that was a major mistake. I found a place where a tree service was dumping all the ground up tree tops etc. The price was right - free and all we wanted. so we started putting that in all the pens, worked good until we got alot of rain, the mulch held the water and turned into a spongy, stinky mess. It actually killed 2 trees in the pen by drowning them. So we had to take all that mess out (the garden loved it though) and now we use all sand. The key thing is getting enough of a base to keep the top dry or at least above the mud level. Knowing what I know now I would have put down gravel first - the biggest I could get for drainage and cover that with sand.

  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    YOu could take a look at

    (Readers Digest version: keep water out of the run by means of roofs/tarps/gutters/downspouts/trenching; apply temporary first-aid in the form of a coarse organic material to get them up out of the mud; then once the soil is good and dry add a good thick layer of something mineral like sand or gravel to prevent mud from forming next year)

  6. lux_interior

    lux_interior Songster

    Apr 28, 2009
    put down sand!!! [​IMG]
  7. uncle briggs

    uncle briggs Hatching

    May 29, 2009
    Would a 3-6" layer of wood chips (from a tree trimming service) be alright for the chickens? This is often available for free by the truckload where I live. Seems like it would attract bugs for chicken food also.
  8. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    Quote:are they in a totally covered pen that cannot get wet at all? I dont know if you've ever had pine shavings/wood chips get wet but with chicken droppings on top of it all, it creates quite the mess and smell [​IMG]. Wet wood is hard to dry out (at least pine shavings are) and you must be careful with mulch because it can harbor some weird types of fungus - one in particular lookes like dog vomit (and I actually think its called that) as well as mushrooms will crop up.

    I'd stick with sand if at all possible - its much easier to muck out and safer for the birds
  9. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    Get you a load of sand. It will drain much quicker, plus the chickens like to dust bathe in it.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  10. logansmommy7

    logansmommy7 Songster

    May 15, 2009
    Shenandoah Valley
    Honestly at this point they have been in their run for almost a month and we still have grass, they haven't scratched it up yet. I have been putting some straw around their coop periodically to try and keep it dryer, but until the massive rain stops, it is all probably futile. Once the grass is gone, I will be considering the sand again...

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