Chicken run. Need Ideas for ground cover

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by winekntrychicks, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. Joyryder

    Joyryder Songster

    Jun 11, 2009
    Scandia, PA
    I'm having a problem with the mud. I hate the mud. I think I need to put in a drainage ditch filled with stone - but have no idea what size. Has anyone done this. Width and depth measurements would help.
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Have you taken a look at my 'fixing a muddy run' page, link in .sig below - a multi-pronged approach usually works best.

    As far as your exact question, an open trench or swale actually works as well or better in many (not all) climates/soils. If you peel the turf back, then excavate, then replace the turf, it doesnt' take too long for the grass to knit back together so you have a grassed swale rather than a bare mud trench (although it *is* a lot more work that way).

    Rather than give specific dimensions I think the most useful thing to say is "build it as big as you can stand and seems reasonable given your soil type and rainfall amounts".

    A little trench 1 shovel wide and deep will actually do a surprisingly decent job if it is graded correctly so the water is all led *away*; it will fill in fairly quickly if open, but if lined with (ideally) 4" perf drainage pipe in a 'sock' and covered with some gravel and turf, and the end of the drainage pipe led away to somewhere distinctly downhill where the water can flow away freely, that'll be enough for most small coops.

    If you don't want to use perf pipe, dig a larger trench (maybe 2-3 shovels wide and 1.5 deep, but it depends a lot on your situation), line it with straw or landscape fabric, chuck in a bunch of largeish coarse gravel, then top with straw or landscape fabric and several inches of soil and your turf.

    The above items only work OUTSIDE the run, btw -- if you try to do a french drain IN the run, the chickens will jsut dig it up and make a mess of it [​IMG]

    But, don't neglect other strategies as well.

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. Joyryder

    Joyryder Songster

    Jun 11, 2009
    Scandia, PA
    Thanks Pat
  4. Joyryder

    Joyryder Songster

    Jun 11, 2009
    Scandia, PA
    I am so happy. I used hay for a quick fix and it was perfect. I could go into the pen without ice cleats. I will be putting in a ditch this weekend.
  5. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Coarse sand like is used to make cement. Added benefit is that you will no longer have to buy any grit. Put a compost heap in the middle for them to play and peck around in and for a change of scenery and something different. If it gets too wet, they will likely avoid it that day.
  6. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    We have gotton our share of rain this year
    I tried sand aaa mess. made more mud??
    now I a friend of ours has said to try contractors gravel. I am guessing it has gravel in it.
    anyone heard of this? we have a metel roof
    to match the house ,the run still gets the rain in.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  7. Hollywood Chickens

    Hollywood Chickens Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    I just got gravel (aka leftover Chattahoochee rocks) in my run, I love it there is so much less mud being tracked into the house and when it rains it washes the rocks clean so there is no scooping to do!!! [​IMG]
    ETA: I just realized how old this thread is!!
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  8. chickendude

    chickendude Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    Dutchess County NY
    Quote:What are Chattahoochee rocks? River rocks?
    This thread got me thinking. It is very cold here in NY. Single digits every night. Well anyway I am considering spreading hay over the frozen ground to give the birds a barrier between their feet and the cold ground. I have noticed they don't care for the cold ground. They spend a lot of time on the outdoor perch. The run is covered so most of the snow doesn't make it in the run. Any one agree?
  9. RocketDad

    RocketDad Songster

    Jul 25, 2008
    Near US 287
    My run is only "covered" when the snow comes down thick and wet - I have a chicken wire lid on the hen yard. The girls seemed to like being under the "roof" of snow with a dryish run. Then it started melting and dripping on them. The looks they gave me...

    In my town there's a "tree dump" (Limb Diversion Center) that shreds once or twice a year. I grabbed a couple truck loads of uncomposted shreds this year. The stuff varies from nose-clogging dust to firewood sized chunks. I put it into the henyard in piles and let them spread it. They liked that. But it seemed really messy as time went on.

    Currently, I have 6-8" of fresh snow over deep-litter-method-cleanout over hard packed ice and snow over the mulch and mud. Until the snow fell today, the chickens were quite pleased to go out and scratch around in the familiar pine shavings. Their feet stayed cleaner and they seemed warm enough.
  10. kennedyscochins

    kennedyscochins Songster

    Sep 1, 2009
    Big Clifty
    I was thinking of covering the ground of my run with hay. Will this attract rats (giving them a warm place to go)?

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