Best cover for the run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gina17, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. Gina17

    Gina17 New Egg

    7
    0
    7
    May 18, 2014
    We have a very large run (about 30x30). I am needing advice about what would be the best material to put down. The run is a muddy mess and rather large so cost may be an issue, I have been considering pea gravel. Thoughts?
     
  2. CliffB

    CliffB Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,336
    260
    168
    Oct 5, 2014
    Georgia
    Do you have pine trees around your property?
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,108
    3,312
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Read this article. You might see something that can help you.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    A 30’ x 30’ existing run is going to be hard to keep dry when wet weather sets in. That’s just the way it is. It’s probably too big to cover and the chickens will dig holes for dust baths that become mud puddles. Still there are some things that can help a lot. Exactly what might work in your circumstances is going to depend on your specific situation. There are two different basic concepts to think about, first keeping water out to start with and second, getting the water out that gets in. It’s too late for you but a run should not be put in a low spot that water drains to. Where you position it with to start with is important but not everybody has much of an option on that.

    30 x 30 is really big to cover and rain will still blow in from the sides. Still, if you can just cover part of it you might get some relief. It does not have to be a permanent roof. Some people use tarps to keep water out. The coop roof and any run roof should be sloped to take water away from the run, not into it or use gutters and downspouts to redirect water away from the run. If possible, use berms or swales on the upslope side to direct rainwater runoff away from the run.

    What you can do to get the water out once it is in will to depend on your soil type and the slope of the ground. Sandy soil drains pretty well but clay really holds the water in. But even sandy soil will not drain unless the water has some lower place to drain to. Since you have a muddy run you probably have a lot of clay in it.

    You can try building the level up with sand so it is higher than the surrounding area. There are some problems with that though, other than the amount of sand you will need. Over time the sand will sink into the mud underneath. That’s because of gravity. The particles of sand are denser than the clay so gravity will pull then down. How fast that happens will depend on your basic soil type. Also chickens will scratch and spread the sand, causing it to disappear. Still you can get some relief by adding sand. If you put a layer of gravel under it you can make it last a lot longer. Using some edging material around the bottom of the run to keep them from scratching sand out or even rain from washing the sand out can make a big difference.

    If there is a lower spot the water can drain to, a French drain or something like that can move a lot of water.

    Chickens need a dry spot to get out of the wet. Too much wet can cause foot problems unless they can get out of it. They will still spend a lot of time in any wet dirt but just that chance to dry out will help a lot. You can build up an area to stay dry, maybe with pavers, pallets, boards, or about anything else you have. I’ve dumped bags of pea gravel in high traffic areas to cut down on the mud.

    Some people use organic bedding like wood chips, straw, or leaves to form a dry surface and are happy with that. If the run is in a low spot where water sets that stuff may get soaked and rot, causing a real mess or maybe even go moldy, so you might need to either keep adding more or remove the old and replace it regularly. How well this works will depend on your specific situation.

    Read Pat’s article and study how water flows in and around the run. Good luck with it. Keeping it dry or getting it dry can be a real challenge.
     
  4. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,306
    41
    174
    Jul 24, 2010
    How long the tarp will last on top of the coop?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,108
    3,312
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It depends on the quality of the tarp, how it is supported and attached, how much wind you get, and whether it traps rain, snow, or ice or if these things slide off.
     
  6. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,306
    41
    174
    Jul 24, 2010
    It does rain a lot here in Washington state. I just don't like the idea replace the tarp every few years.
     
  7. dana0710

    dana0710 Chillin' With My Peeps

    134
    22
    86
    Mar 11, 2014
    East Texas
    Our run is covered with used corrugated sheet metal. Check Craigslist. We have sand in te run and a few old stumps and a roost for the chickens to get out of the mud. We also put sheetetal on one side of the run to keep rain from blowing in. Good luck!
     
  8. darina

    darina Chillin' With My Peeps

    245
    24
    88
    May 10, 2014
    Gina17 are you intending to completely shelter your run, or are you considering materials to put down on the ground. I have read a lot of good things about sand as a litter material, which would provide good drainage. And the chickens will love to dust bathe in there! [​IMG]

    Here is a link on that - http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/09/chicken-coop-bedding-sand-litter.html





    Another option would be to employ the Deep Litter Method in the run, where you basically employ the chickens as compost managers.

    Here is a thread regarding that subject. - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/643302/results-from-first-year-with-deep-litter-method

    And Welcome!!!! I hope you enjoy your venture. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by