Coop and run litter...in rainy area. Use rocks?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Jessika, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Jessika

    Jessika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coops and runs (no roof on runs besides chicken wire) were gorgeous before a bunch of Aug rainstorms. Now all muddy and mucky. I used straw...failed..it just mushed into the mud. Any ideas to keep my white birds white. In Oregon I am sure it is not so easy.

    Thanks
     
  2. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Lots and lots of sand! You can get it by the dump truck load. That's what I would suggest. [​IMG]
     
  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would not use rock, you will end up with bumble foot issues.

    I would recommend sand first, then lots of straw.

    Once the leaves start to fall I place all my leaves in the run and it takes a while before they get worked in. I have lots of tree though.
     
  4. Jessika

    Jessika Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The sand failed...miserably...now there are holes with water in it and it has turned to mud from the chickens scratching...

    It worked until the heavy Oregon rains came......I have brown "white leghorns" at the moment!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Sand or gravel work great to avoid mud... but only if you put them down BEFORE you have mud (or once it has thoroughly dried, in the summer). As I've said elsewhere a lot of times, if you put sand or gravel into mud, the mud just swallows 'em up. You don't even get sandy or gravelly mud. It is a mystery [​IMG]

    First I would suggest doing whatever you possibly can to minimize water going into the run. This may include putting guttters on the coop or other nearby structures; directing downspouts WELL away from the run (nonperforated black corrugated drainpipe works well for this); roofing the run if feasible; and trenching around it, with an additional arm of the trench to lead water away downhill.

    Then, honestly at this point you are probably best off adding coarse organic matter. In the PNW you should be able to get hogfuel; although it varies somewhat it what it's like, it's usually pretty appropriate for this purpose. Or coarsely shredded bark, or very coarse wood chips, or something like that. The coarser the organic matter, the less (and more slowly) it turns into mud itself.

    You will have to rake it all out next spring/summer when things dry out, or your mud will get worse over time, but it should hold you until then (and then you can put sand or gravel in properly and, in conjunction with the things you did to minimize water input to the run, you should be pretty ok)

    You are really unlikely to be able to keep white birds completely white in an unroofed wet run in the PNW though [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    How about some pea gravel with some sand?
     
  7. the1much

    the1much Currently Birdless Hippy

    make harnesses for em, and hang them from the chicken wire on the top [​IMG]
     
  8. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lay down a good quality landscape fabric, tacking it in place with plastic spikes to keep it anchored in place and then cover with your material.

    Make sure that the ground is smooth and is tapered to one side to allow for better drainage of the water, else it will build up under your top dressing regardless.

    If tapering the ground is not an option, use a mound method and build up the soil in the center of the run so that water sheds outward. a half inch rise per foot should be fine. Once your ground is set, cover with the cloth and then layer with sand, gravel, mulch or whatever.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    You'd want a LOT of material on top if you used landscape fabric -- chickens can dig dusting-holes pretty deep, like 6-8" or more, and you sure would not want them exposing landscape fabric (which they would scratch up and then eat, and it's not like the world's most digestible material). I wouldn't do it myself.

    JMHO,

    Pat
     
  10. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point about the depth.. Figured they were dumping tons of material anyway.

    Even without the fabric, pitching the soil to allow for better drainage is a must do. A french drain around the perimeter of the run would work well also, so long as you have a lower area to drain it to.
     

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