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dirt floor in chicken run.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Roy Rooster, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Hi All,

    I have a earth pen for my chickens. They have access to a larger chicken yard but during bad weather
    they usually stay in their pen because it has a top and they can stay dry.

    Our weather has been very wet, so the floor of our dirt pen is getting very wet. We do have a top
    on the pen so the birds are dry but the water is coming up through the ground.

    I am getting worried that they might get sick due to the extreme dampness of our weather.

    What are some things that I can do to make this a better situation for my ladies?

    Or am I worrying too much.

    Thanks

    [​IMG]
    Here is their coop and pen. As you can see the floor on the pen is just dirt.

    [​IMG]
    Here is a picture inside the pen. There is a tarp roof to keep rain from
    coming in from the top.
     
  2. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    I use mulch in the dirt runs. It works wonders for the muddy mess (on the rare occasion that we do have rain).. it doesn't rot really fast and start stinking or get slippery like hay and straw..
    Once a year when it has broken down I shovel it out and put down fresh.. the old stuff goes to the garden where it can help amend our poor quality extremely alkaline soil.

    You can also put down gravel.. but the gravel does get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It works pretty well for ducks though because if the layer of gravel is thick enough you can hose it down and keep the run cleaner.
     
  3. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    That is a good idea, do you use just regular mulch sold a lowe's or some place like that?
     
  4. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2011
    Loveland
  5. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    You can. I ended up getting lucky. the local power company was clearing trees and dropped off several loads of "green mulch" a few years back (bushes and trees that they cut down and chipped).. after it aged some I started using it in the runs.
     
  6. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    We have a dirt floor in our pen as well. It does stay wet when the weather is wet but the birds usually choose to stay in the house where it is dry. You might try putting some outdoor roosts in or maybe a pallet where they could get up out of the wet dirt. Mine sometimes just choose to stand out in the rain in our uncovered part when the weather is warmer. The mud doesn't seem to bother them but I know it is not good for their feet to stay wet for long periods of time.
     
  7. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,333
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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    I have some elevated roosts in their pen to get them off the ground. The pen has a covered top so the water that is getting in is coming up from the ground.
    They have an uncovered chicken play area that they sometimes go in but that too is getting to be quite muddy.

    I guess I am concerned on whether the mud is bad for them or not? I know that chickens are made to live outside but how much mud is too much
    for them to stay healthy.
     
  8. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    I really don't know exactly and it may just be one of those things that is it depends. Ours have had muddy runs for a few days at a time and I have seen no ill effects. I would imagine if you had a week or more of rain it could get bad. The other concern is being able o clean out the area. The idea of wood chips is a good one. We have a dirt floor in our house as well and use the deep litter method there. Alot of that has worked it's way out into the run and so it is partially mulched I guess you would say. We occassionally rake out dried poo and also do a complete coop clean once a year where we shovel out every thing we can and start over. The wood chips would give them a layer between them and the mud. It will get mixed in but it give a different consistancy after and isn't as muddy when it is wet. You can get pine shavings (that's what we get) from your Co-op or feed store and spread it. You may find it is cheeper than mulch depending on where you are. do a price check. Good luck.
     
  9. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,333
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    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Thanks, we have had rainy winter in the past but this year it is pretty bad. I did get some pine shaving and spread out on the
    dirt floor a while back. It still gets muddy but this year has also been really bad for the rains. I wish I could clean out the pen but
    the mud makes it impossible right now. Thanks again for your suggestions.
     
  10. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    You might consider sand. Sand drains really well. Our run is uncovered but with 4"of sand in there, it will get damp but not puddly. I shovel the snow off the sand and they go out there scratching around even in the snow. The sand is easy to clean (well, mostly because I don't really clean it). I'll sometimes scoop up some obvious poops, but once every week or two I sprinkle in some Sweet PDZ (stall refresher) to neutralize any ammonia smell.
     

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