gravel in run clogged with mud

kywest

Chirping
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
64
3
94
central Ohio
In the fall we added about 6-8 inches of paver base to the run. Worked great until everything froze, then we had 3+ solid inches of ice/poop that couldn't be cleaned out . Thought it would all melt away this spring, but instead i have a mat of poop/mud/hay/etc over the gravel. I'm guessing that i'll have to peel this off now that it's spring and it's not magically disappearing, but I'm wondering about the choice of paver base. Should i add sand or maybe round gravel? Or is this just a spring chore i should get used to? Run is not covered - just wire (no slope to roof), but would covering it help?
 

patandchickens

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
12,520
349
341
Ontario, Canada
It may partly self-correct once the ground finishes thawing (I am guessing that your ground is not thawed more than the top few inches? Ours isn't anyhow, and we've had a lot less snow than youse guys have this winter)

But, if there is a top layer that is sort of matted together with hay then you may wish to remove it now while you can. THe more little bits o' hay you get stirred in with the gravel, the faster and worse the gravel will get nasty. Mixing inorganic and organic substrates does not generally go well, long-term. And removing any matted-hay layer will also take a fair bit of pooey sludge with it.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat
 

ourflockof4

Chirping
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
111
0
99
Northern Ohio
Well it's as thawed as it will get by now, but if it ever stops raining it may be easier to work with when dries. Depending on what you call paver base (2" stones down to lime dust?) would kinda depend on my answer. Poo and bedding will always get worked into any loose stone, and the chickens will dig and loosen up compacted stone to a certain extent. Adding a layer of sand will eliminate the poo & bedding getting worked into the base but will also require cleaning on a regular basis. If you put bedding down every winter then you will probably have to clean the mat every year, but this has been an odd winter so it may not be as bad next year.
 

kywest

Chirping
10 Years
Apr 14, 2009
64
3
94
central Ohio
thanks for the advice. i do think once it stops raining/snowing for more than a day it will be easier to assess the damage, so to speak. hoping i can just peel that layer off the top and find relatively clean gravel (yes, 1" limestone down to dust) underneath. was hoping for a more low- maintenance, less disgusting run substrate, but it seems like covering it to prevent ice build-up may be the only way to accomplish that. the paver base works so well in the dog area - frozen poop stays on top of compacted gravel till it thaws and i can clean it up...then again , she doesn't dig holes in it!!
 

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