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Chickens and Mud

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by carrierose, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. carrierose

    carrierose Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]

    We have had so much snow and rain this winter that my chicken yard and pasture is flooded with many areas of 3 inch deep mud when the water recedes. I have heard this is not safe for chickens and can breed disease. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the problem. I laid pallets down so the chickens would have something dry to walk on. I am curious about the types of diseases this can cause and if there is anything I can do to prevent my chickens from developing health issues. I am keeping the coops as dry as possible and the feed is only in the coops. Any information would be very helpful. Thank you

    P.S. My ducks are having a blast with all the water.
     
  2. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You have some options, but it is a disaster in the making if the problem is chronic. Especially when warmth is added to the damp, because it makes bacteria and the like grow.

    You can fill the area with aggregate (gravel, rock, sand) so that the chickens don't have access to the soil level. The downside is smell once poo is all over it.

    You can trench it to detour the water away and fill with soil (on going, as it will settle)

    Get more ducks.

    Make friends with a tree trimming business and take their chippings to fill it with. It can compost on the spot, chickens will like scratching in it, but the soil becomes super acidic with the composting going on. No weeds though.

    The best course of action is to move the coops to high ground that doesn't flood, or get them elevated above it with enough space that they can be locked up during flood season. Pricey.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    OyVey! Bummer.

    I'd also advise digging some drainage swales/trenches to get the water out of the run....and/or raising ground level some how.

    I'd advise against using fresh tree trimmings, but get some that have sat and aged for awhile.
    A mix of dry plant materials(well, you probably can't find anything dry right now so at least use 'browns') work well.

    Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Hello from over the hill [​IMG]. I'm in Grants Pass, and my place looks pretty much like that right now also.

    I can maybe set your mind at ease and say I've fought mud and wet ever since we've lived here (15 years) and have not had diseases. I know folks say that happens, and I agree it makes sense, but I've not had any issues. My birds are also in mud/water a lot, always damp feet and the nest boxes are a mess since I'm insane and have feather footed birds [​IMG]. But everyone is healthy and productive.

    I don't do anything special to keep them that way. Just enough space, and fresh water, even though they seem to prefer the puddles.

    I feed regular all in one from Grange Co-op. Kitchen scraps and oyster shell.

    I wouldn't try to hatch chicks with a broody right now, the littles may not do so well with the current conditions. But my adults all are fine. No cocci issues, etc.

    And yes, my single duck hen is having a blast!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. eleaserek

    eleaserek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] I vote this!
    Sorry I'm not much help. I couldn't help but comment though.
     
  6. carrierose

    carrierose Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2014
    Keno, OR
    Thank you for the wonderful suggestions! Unfortunately, finances are a bit short at this time so can't take advantage of some of the suggestions. I think I have another solution though. I am going to decrease the size of my flock for the time being. I have almost 50 chickens, most of which are over 3 years old. The older ones are not laying as well as they used to and are not providing the eggs needed to buy the feed for that many. I think I will lay down more pallets to provide more dry area for them to walk on. I have tons of pallets and can get broken ones for free at the local feed stores. There are areas where the chickens can get to so they can scratch.

    Putting the coops on higher ground is the ideal solution but we can't get to it at this time. We have a 8-10 foot wide (3 or more feet deep) ditch running through our property that is full of water and we have no way of getting across it at this time. Hopefully this summer or the next I can build new coops on the back of the property which is higher ground & hasn't flooded in the 11 years we have lived here. We hope to build a bridge across the ditch some time this summer when we can get to the lumber that is buried under snow at this time.

    This is not a normal winter. We don't usually have this much water in the pasture or chicken yard.

    A special hello to my Grants Pass neighbor. (I was born in Grants Pass. Small world) Thank you for trying to set my mind at ease. It was very helpful.

    Other than coccidiosis what types of diseases should I be watching out for?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Molds could be an issue.
    I don't think there's anything specific to watch for and nothing you could really do to prevent anyway.
    Just keep the area they are in as dry and stress free as you can, and keep them well fed and healthy.
    Reducing your flock numbers could help for the less stress part.
     
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    @carrierose, I feel your pain. :hugs Hopefully you'll get a bunch of dry days and the mud will dry up.
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    @mandelyn, I've thought about contacting tree trimming services, but I'm concerned about the loads containing plants/trees that are toxic to livestock. For many years the self care boarding stable I was at did this, and people would fill their stalls and paddocks with trimmings, and management used them in one of the turn out areas. Then one day six horses died, and the cause of death was something in the tree trimmings. :(
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Why I advised against fresh tree trimmings....guy here did fresh chips and lost a few to aspergillus confirmed by lab.
     

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