How the heck can I DO this? Getting frustrated.


9 Years
Jun 7, 2010
Portland, OR
I live in Oregon and it is always raining. I have a coop with a very large run, and it is partially covered during the winter with a tarp.

Here's my problem. The mud and yuck. I have tried mulch, which just got covered in poo and mud and im worried about how that will work over a long period of time. Would the poo and mud and mulch just compost itself over time?

Now I have very small rock, which really helps with the mud, but is impossible to clean without taking the rocks out, rinsing them all off and returning them...NOT something I want to do twice a year.

What do you guys think about this?
I haven't tried it myself, but there is an entire thread on here somewhere about using sand. Those that use it swear by it. Might try searching for that.
You could try adding alot of coarse sand and maybe pea gravel - a few inches deep - that should help alot with drainage and preventing mud. The chicken poo would eventually wash down thru it like when it rains on grass.
we r kinda new, and use sand. It is easy to rake out and drainage is as good as it gets. That being said, depending on weather it can also be a little messy till things thaw out BUT much better than mud.

We use small gravel and its alot better than the mud and yuck. Part of our run is covered and i put straw in that part so the girls will have a place to scratch. DH just gets the hose out and washes the gravel down and most of the poo goes down in the rocks. I love that i dont have to always wash the eggs now. Sometimes i do but not much.

By the way we live in Western Washington so we know rain and mud.....
barnie.gif you can just hose down the gravel? When I tried that, we had already had so much rain, that it turned into a boggy quagmire. No more water wanted to be absorbed? How often do you hose it down and what do you do in between for cleaning maintenance? Your climate is just about the same as ours, so im very interested in how you do it.

It does not smell bad or seem to be all that gross, I just know that all the gravel im raking around in mixed with al that poo and worry about the "cleanliness" of it, as im not actually getting rid of the poo, but simply mixing it around with the rocks.
A French Drain system would work really well. Basically, you dig a trench around the perimeter of the pen, slope the pen so that water drains towards the trench, and fill the trench with gravel or rock or broken concrete. An elaborate model would include drain pipe in the bottom of the trench to divert water. This system can be as simple or complex as you can afford. The trench digging can be easier if you have, or can rent, a trencher. (my brother has one and LOVES playing with his toys, how lucky am I?)
Then you can use anything you want on the floor of the run without having mud.
Also, if you are concerned about how a gravel trench might look, you can plant grass or groundcover of some kind over it.
I really dont know.... Our gravel is several inches deep. I just know it looks so nice after he rinses it out. And it doesnt smell afterwards. DH did dig a ditch in the middle going out to the backside of the run so maybe that helps. The ditch is filled with gravel to. We have around 20 chickens so lots of poo. He just rinses whenever he feels he needs to. 1 to 2 times a week. It has been a lifesave for this winter. Under the cover he put some gravel but I cover that with clean straw about once a week. I just rake up to old stuff (1 wheel barrel) and put nice clean stuff down. Takes about 20 minutes. Throw some scratch or boss down for them and they are in heaven....

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