Coop drainage issues

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MACKLN308, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. MACKLN308

    MACKLN308 In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2014
    So the multi-level coop I just build has some drainage issues in the run. It did fine at first but then we got some seriously heavy rain and it hasn't been the same in a couple weeks. It does sit in a low spot of the yard but unfortunately I cannot change that. Prior to the rain I added pea pebbles from home depot but they scratch so much that the dirt got mixed right in! So much for the easy cleanup of all their waste! I have seen some people suggest using all river stone, or sand but I'm not sure how much this will help. I can only build up a little and I would like to keep cleaning poo up an easy task. I will probably have to remove some earth from inside the run since it is starting to smell rather bad. All ideas or thoughts are welcomed![​IMG]
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    First read this article. It’s kind of general but you may pick up something that will apply to your situation.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    There are two basic ideas on having a dry run. The first (and probably hardest) is to keep water out to start with. As you have noticed location has a lot to do with that. Hind sight is brilliant, isn’t it? But there are other things you can do. Maye put a roof on it. Slope coop and run roofing or maybe use gutters so water runs away from the run, not into it. Rain will blow in from the side so maybe wrap plastic or something on the upwind side. Use berms or swales to divert rainwater runoff away from your run. Probably not a lot of help for you so far.

    The second idea is to get the water out once it gets in. To do that, water needs to drain away. If you are in a low spot, that is hard. Something that is good to know is that clay is impervious and will hold water but sand is porous and will drain really well if the water has someplace to go.

    Since the water is not draining away your soil probably has a lot of clay in it. Digging the clay out and replacing it with sand will probably not help. You’ll just make a swimming pool that holds sand and water. But maybe there is a way. Do you have a sand layer maybe 2 or 3 feet down? If so, dig a few chimneys through the clay down to that sand and fill the chimney with sand or pea gravel. Then dig out the clay and fill it with sand. That should drain, but what are the odds of you having a convenient sand layer down there?

    Ok, let’s try something else. You say it is in a low spot. Is there another low spot reasonably close? If so, dig out the clay, fill it back with sand, and put in a French drain to that other low spot. The chimney idea but horizontal instead of vertical.

    Now the one that should work. Fill the entire run with sand to a height where the water can easily drain out. Part of the problem with this is that the sand will work its way down into the clay underneath and just disappear. That’s gravity at work. Sand is denser than clay so gravity pulls on it harder. It doesn’t help that the chickens are scratching and accelerating that process. So put a layer of pea gravel or something like that under the sand. The sand and even the pea gravel will still eventually disappear, but a good layer of pea gravel will slow that process a lot. This really works better if you do it when the ground is dry so you are not playing in mud. Maybe do something temporary like layout planks, pallets, straw, cinder blocks, something to get them up out of the mud and do the more permanent fix when it dries out.
    There is another problem with sand. It can wash out in a heavy rain if it is built up. Also the chickens scratch a lot. They will scratch it out of the run. So you need to put some type of wall around the bottom of your run to keep the sand in. I don’t know how high you’ll need to go, but maybe a row off cinder blocks, landscaping cloth, plastic, something to contain the sand.

    Good luck with it. It is often really hard to keep a run dry when the weather sets in wet.
  3. MACKLN308

    MACKLN308 In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2014
    I appreciate the reply! I forgot to mention I live right on a lake and it may only be 3 feet below to hit water. The only option I see is to dig it out and add sand and raise the level up a bit. Thanks for the help!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Build a big slanted roof over the whole contraption?

    Those boards with the bucket on them are probably diverting alot of water towards the coop and into the run......I'd get rid of the bucket and put a single board slanted away from the coop.
  5. MACKLN308

    MACKLN308 In the Brooder

    Oct 5, 2014
    I was trying to stay away from building another roof but it may be the only way. The 5 gallon buck it there water bucket so I don't have to give them water everyday but I may just use the nipples on a couple half gallon milk jugs instead and see how many days I get out of that. I dug that stuff up today and boy did it stink as soon as I dipped the shovel into it. I dug a deeper hole in the center of the run and I did see a sand layer in there so hopefully that will help with drainage. Filled everything in with builders sand AND I plan to add some courser material but that's all that was available today.

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