Driest Section of Yard is Now the Muddiest


5 Years
Jun 16, 2014
Ohio, for now
When we placed our coop, we chose the spot because it seemed to be the "driest".....When it would rain, most of the yard would not dry as fast or as thorough. Now I have the complete opposite problem with that section. Now it NEVER seems to dry out, even during a drought scenario, no matter what angle we take.

At first we placed wood shavings to soak up moisture and realized that made the issue worse..... then straw. And that works for a about 2 days then its just like a giant sponge. We move the water and the feed trays every other day or so but every time we move one, there is a "cobweb" of what looks like, maybe flossy mold?? Caveat to this; it doesn't rain for days yet the ground is downpour wet. Even after we change the bedding and if we leave the ground open for a few dry days, its still as muddy.


The chicks and the ducks are generally out of their homes and free ranging during most of the day and the pond for the ducks is outside of the pen, about 10 feet away.

Now the weather is getting colder, (Monday I think it was, there was a very thin layer of snow on my car at 5am. This is Ohio and at about 1pm the same day, the temp reached 80 degrees.... go figure). I don't want my birds to freeze through their feet and I definitely do NOT want the diseases that attach themselves to the feet due to wet, muddy and/or unclean floors. The chicks roost, albeit mostly on top of their "house" and not the branches placed around the pen but the ducks nest on the ground.....

Am I missing the obvious? Please help......



Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
I've been in your shoes as well, here in Ohio. And I've tried everything too. But I found that sand is the best option. I get a scoop of sand from a quarry, which is about $15.00, and I spread that around. I do rake it out every few days to remove the poop. I have 15 chickens. It's really the best option for their outdoor run. No more mud, no more puddles. It's great, even if it gets wet.

Now, I don't throw down treats in the sand, unless it's cracked corn. Wet treats get all sandy, so I throw fruit and veggies into the grass outside, or I put that in a pan in their coop. But I think it's great.


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Sep 25, 2007
If you could get some pics, that would be very helpful. It's difficult to get an idea of what may be going on. Is your run placed in area that doesn't get natural sunlight & breezes? That could be part of your problem.

As for the "flossy mold" I have no idea what that is. I've not heard of it (I'll Google and see if I can find anything), but mold grows in damp conditions, so it's probably due to the dampness.

A few things that I note: you mention you have "branches" for your chickens to roost on but they seem to prefer on the "house" - is this your coop? Do the ducks not have a coop? Ducks and chickens most definitely need an indoor space, especially in the Midwest. The preference for chickens' roosts is not branches, but 2'x4's placed long side up. This wider area allows them to hunker down over their feet, to protect from frostbite. Ducks of course sleep on the ground, but they still need to be in out of the weather at night.

For now, can you get some pallets to lay around the run? That way, the chickens have an option of something to step up onto that is dry. That would be a good temporary solution, and you can usually find them free by the roadside.

But, if you can get some pictures, we can probably give more feedback.


5 Years
Jun 16, 2014
Ohio, for now
Gladly!!! :)

The pen is a bit primitive right now.....and of course it is raining like mad today... sheesh.

We are building a better and much Larger pen towards the rear of the property where that blue bucket in the background is....... And I don't want a repeat of the ground problems there. On this one though until the larger one is built, a tarp will go over the top and we were thinking of placing plywood or tarps up to where we have placed the 2x4s around (about 6 to 8 inches down from the top to allow ventilation) but with the ground so wet we are afraid it may do more harm than good..... Any better thoughts on that would be fabulous!

I took the branches out yesterday but have extra 2x4s that can go in for perches! And we have a quarry that sells sand not too far from my house.... I'll give that a try).

The hens, when they go in to the houses to lay eggs, go into the blue "house" and the ducks go into both the blue and the brown. The bedding in the blue one is very deep and dry but the brown one is slightly moist. But the hens still sleep on the roof..... and last night I saw them huddled together on one of the wooden crates along the side.

On a funny note, the few times I tried to take the grey tub from in front of the pen..... Golden girl and Naggie (our resident complainer) would attack my leg, so it stayed.

These are my first flock and I am learning as I go..... with the help from every one here, we've made it this far :)

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