Chicken Run has Mold

Beard4

Chirping
Apr 12, 2020
69
35
73
North Central Alabama
Our chicken run smells like well chicken manure which I would assume is normal, but would love the best way to clean it out.
For the last 4 days it has rained non-stop (and the chickens won't go in during rain), our run has stayed pretty wet, which I thought would clean out some poop.
However, the chickens like scratching all of there food out of their feeder. Which apparently has made a moldy mess, I assume.
1. Would spraying apple cider vinegar water and letting dry help kill the mold?
2. What do I do about the feed they scratch out, i usually just fill the feeder in the morning and leave it?
3. How to clean there run? And if that includes adding more dirt what is the best to get?


I have some DE I will be adding to the inside of there coop, and I have added a little here and there to the dirt inside the run.
Please help this new chicken mama here.
 
Last edited:

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,285
33,309
1,122
Colorado Rockies
You have some serious issues, the worst one being mold. It can kill or at least cripple your chickens if they ingest it. Mucking out all the wet spoiled mess would be a start. Treating the run with chlorine bleach solution to kill any left over mold spores would be wise.

Medium term solution to the spilled feed problem would be to come up with a device to prevent feed from being beaked out onto the ground. If you happen to be including grains in the feed, stop the practice as it encourages beaking food out of the feeder. Feeding fermented feed is easy, and it would create a no-waste food system on its own.

Longer term solution to the wet, soggy run is to cover it with a roofing material such as fiberglass or metal corrugated panels.
 

Beard4

Chirping
Apr 12, 2020
69
35
73
North Central Alabama
You have some serious issues, the worst one being mold. It can kill or at least cripple your chickens if they ingest it. Mucking out all the wet spoiled mess would be a start. Treating the run with chlorine bleach solution to kill any left over mold spores would be wise.

Medium term solution to the spilled feed problem would be to come up with a device to prevent feed from being beaked out onto the ground. If you happen to be including grains in the feed, stop the practice as it encourages beaking food out of the feeder. Feeding fermented feed is easy, and it would create a no-waste food system on its own.

Longer term solution to the wet, soggy run is to cover it with a roofing material such as fiberglass or metal corrugated panels.

Wouldn’t the bleach be harmful to the chickens also?

The part that is Not drying well is the small piece of run under the coop (it truly rained for 4 days straight) the coop is covered by a metal roof, but the run gets water runoff from the top of the yard also. (See first picture)

the feeder my husband is creating is (2nd picture) They are still on crumble, free ranging grass at least an hour a day, only had a little corn.

What is fermented feed?
 

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neo71665

Crowing
Mar 22, 2020
1,613
3,307
266
Arkansas
Do a search for the diy bucket feeder on here. They will still scatter the feed out of a pipe feeder like that. With bucket feeders mine cant even scatter crumble around and waste it.
 

loohoo

Songster
May 9, 2020
131
96
106
Southern Ohio, US
My husband made a DIY bucket feeder and its great - my chickens make minimal mess with it! They were wasting so much before. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/my-bucket-feeder-by-terry-g.48193/
This is what we did (not my tutorial though). We did make the gap between the bottom tray and the bucket smaller (used a closer in size bucket) - a tip I saw on a different tutorial, for making it harder for them to fling it out.

As for the run, we use the deep litter method in ours and it doesnt smell at all. I've seen many people say its super good for wet areas. Its really easy to maintain, there are alot of posts and articles about it here on the site.
 

Beard4

Chirping
Apr 12, 2020
69
35
73
North Central Alabama
My husband made a DIY bucket feeder and its great - my chickens make minimal mess with it! They were wasting so much before. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/my-bucket-feeder-by-terry-g.48193/
This is what we did (not my tutorial though). We did make the gap between the bottom tray and the bucket smaller (used a closer in size bucket) - a tip I saw on a different tutorial, for making it harder for them to fling it out.

As for the run, we use the deep litter method in ours and it doesnt smell at all. I've seen many people say its super good for wet areas. Its really easy to maintain, there are alot of posts and articles about it here on the site.

So do a deep litter method on the run also?
I will definitely look at the bucket feeder
 

loohoo

Songster
May 9, 2020
131
96
106
Southern Ohio, US
So do a deep litter method on the run also?
I will definitely look at the bucket feeder
Yep! Its working great for us!
There's a lot of information on this site about it, but ours is a mixture of dry leaves/mulched wood/pine needles/etc. And basically, you rake the clumps occasionally (however, the chickens do most of the work with scratching through it all), and add another layer. It continuously breaks down, and eventually you can shovel it out and you have amazing compost for a garden, or whatever.
 

Beard4

Chirping
Apr 12, 2020
69
35
73
North Central Alabama
Ok, so I see deep litter method with (sand, leaves and pine shavings) however, it will all get wet..with run off water coming through.

1. will it not create mold underneath
2. What to do about all the ammonia in the ground dirt now?

I have a fan blowing underneath to dry it out now.
 

3KillerBs

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Jul 10, 2009
5,317
11,587
846
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
The thing is to have enough of the dry "compost browns" to absorb the moisture and to get the good bacteria working to create the healthy environment.

Can you create some kind of structure to divert water runoff away from the coop? Obviously you can't dig a French drain or a grass swale in the kind of downpour that so much of the east coast has been having this past week, but can you use straw bales the way they do on highway construction sites?

Also, raise your feeder to the level of the chickens' backs to reduce feed wastage. Use the tallest chicken as the gauge and give the shorter chickens a brick or a block to stand on.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,088
28,844
1,002
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I personally wouldn't bleach, that'll kill everything, good and bad, in the soil. I would physically scrape out all the mold and dirt immediately beneath and around, best as you can manage.

I used to have mold issues from the chickens billing out feed but it's pretty well under control now with deep litter. Even spilled feed just mixes into it and becomes part of the litter.

As far as reducing waste, you can raise the feeder to discourage billing out/scratching, or put a pan under it to catch fall out (such as a large plant saucer or pie plate), or change out the style feeder being used.
 

MANNA-PRO

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