Coop turned into muddy swamp

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Petra Pancake, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    My coop sits right on the ground and doesn't have a floor. As it doesn't rain here in summer, I didn't have any problems with that for months - the ground in the coop was nice, dry, fluffy earth. Now, after a few hearty winter rains, the ground is soaking and muddy. Also inside the coop, it's just seeping in. My poor chickens are wading through the mud and I get involuntarily mud brown eggs instead of white ones... [​IMG] Even when it doesn't rain the stuff doesn't dry because it's too cold. What's the best material to put in to create a dry surface on the mud? Straw? Wood chips? Sand?
  2. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Overrun With Chickens

    I would sandbag around the coop to keep more water from coming in and then use hay or straw

    But I am new I don't know[​IMG]

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
  3. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    @IdyllwildAcres , thanks, good idea with the sandbags around, maybe that'll help somewhat. I've heard that hay isn't good because it goes moldy quickly when it's wet - maybe I'll try to get some straw or something similar. We've got old dry palm fronds lying around in the garden, I'm just thinking I could cut them up and use that.
  4. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2016
    Going through the same thing here!. We've had a very rainy fall in Oregon and it just never dries out. I am going with the huge amount of litter strategy -- wood chips, pine needles, leaves, etc. The hens are not able to dig down and turn it themselves; it gets too heavy. My first attempt got horribly stinky and sodden so I forked it out and piled it in their larger run. They have not made the slightest attempt to scratch at it yet, but I'm sure eventually they will be able to maybe in the spring.

    I've been adding fresh stuff in and plan to fork it over regularly, exposing the wet muck to air. We'll see how that goes. I'm just glad to be able to keep inside the coop dry.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First, read this, it has a lot of good stuff in it. You never know what you might see in it that makes for a fairly easy fix for you.

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

    I sympathize with you. Although my run is up on a small rise so it should drain and has a roof, it still turns into a muddy mess when we get rain for several days on end, practically all spring long. It sounds like your coop is in a low spot where water runs to it, that has to be a mess.

    I don’t think it’s in Pat’s article, but when I built my coop I added a few inches of clay dirt to the floor. It sets on clay dirt anyway. Once it sets a little clay works pretty well to keep water out, but if it gets wet and stirred up it can be a real mess. I also put in a swale on the uphill side to divert rainwater away from it. You might have to wait until the weather turns dry to do something like this, but it might be a reasonable long-term fix for you. A lot of what you can do is going to depend a lot on your unique situation. Things that work for me might not work for you.

    You can try using straw, hay, wood chips, wood shavings, those palm fronds, or something similar. Some people do and are successful. But the risk is that they will get wet and not dry out so you might have to shovel them out and put some new in if the water just stands there.

    It is not healthy for chickens to always stand in wet. It can damage their feet. Just building it up with loose sand can help, but that’s often a temporary fix. Over time the sand disappears down in the mud. But a temporary fix may work long enough for you. Putting sand bags on the coop floor may be a good plan. Others use cinder blocks, plywood, pallets, something to get them a dry surface above the mud.

    I know this doesn’t do you a bit of good but maybe it will help someone else reading this that hasn’t built their coop yet. It’s never a good idea to put a coop or run in low spots, but in some small back yards, some people just don’t have an option. It can be tough.

    Good luck!
  6. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    @pnwoldie good to know that even with deep litter it still gets soggy. Maybe it just needs to be thrown out regularly. I'll make sure to have reserve material. My chickens are very enthusiastic scratchers and diggers - hope they don't just dig everything under in the mud... They've done that in the past when I tried to line their nesting box with straw. Within two days it was all gone. A week later the bottom of the nesting box itself was gone as well - they just shredded it...
  7. Bananabread

    Bananabread Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2016
    Bay Area
    It might be too late for this season but once you have a good stretch of sun I would dig out the topsoil a few inches, then I would lay some perforated PVC down followed by drainage rock, then cover it with some weed cloth and finally fill your run back in with sand. Obviously easier said than done but a little work in the spring to make a French drain type set up underneath your coop will do wonders to keep it dry. I don't know how feasible it is with your set up. Maybe if you include a picture or two it can help us understand whats going on.

  8. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    @Ridgerunner thanks for the link - very useful. My coop isn't really in a low spot - our backyard is sort of even. But the ground is a sort of clay that retains water very well and rainfalls here are very heavy in winter - within minutes everything is under water. Digging ditches probably would help but I've got no room for that - on two sides of the coop is the run attached and on the other side the footpath to get there and next to that a wall. Maybe I'll cover the floor in the coop with something a bit sturdier like wooden branches to raise the level and then put straw /palm fronds on top of that.
  9. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    @Bananabread - looks fancy. Can't take pictures now because it's dark here already. But your pictures there seem to show a good long term strategy. Maybe that's really a project for next spring.
  10. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2016
    PetraPancake I misread your post I was thinking it was an outside uncovered run that was soggy-- if it's inside their coop then probably their floor needs to be raised temporarily, maybe with pallets with plywood on top or something. Then later the drains or a permanent raised floor or move the coop. It sounds like water is running right into it.

    We have that problem in our basement. If the sump pump quits working we know immediately!

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