How to get rid of mud in the out door run


Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
Northwest New Jersey
Only issue with peat moss is once it absorbs liquid, it seems to take forever and a day to dry out. I give it to my chickens for their dust bath but once it's pretty well used up I dump it in my garden, rather than leave it in the run.
This is why they use peat moss in hanging baskets. The soil drys out so quickly in a hanging basket sI by adding peat moss water is retained much longer. Wood chips also absorb water but will release the water into the ground much faster than peat moss and won’t stay wet on the top surface.


5 Years
Jan 1, 2015
Vancouver, Wa.
Thanks!! Super helpful! I think wood chops is the way to go. I am on a list for the dump of tree clippings but noting so far. I will just have to buy some I guess
There is an organization in many areas called . they connect up gardeners with arborist companies for free chips (helps both ways). Of course, you can’t request a set volume, so you may be storing some, which is OK. In my case I contacted our tree guy, because he’s done work for us. But at this point, you need to get something down, so I’d buy a load of chips for now and use them. Then you can work on supplying yourself for longer term. I do use leaves, too, and may or may not have been known to get neighbors to bring over their bags or recycling bins if just leaves (not oak, etc.). 😬


May 3, 2015
Denver, CO
lynnehd, I did not think about that. Colorado is like a desert, so sand has worked well covered or not.

aart, it was a small run, maybe 3x4 and 3" deep. Took me a while, plus a lot of reading, to figure out the wasted food is the cause of many issues. Once a year or 1.5 years, I would bag the sand and either put it into a friend's dumpster or put it out for the garbage collection. I was in a neighborhood with no means to recycle or take advantage of the poop. I've moved from that house, so now things are very different.


Jul 22, 2018
Southeast Ohio
Hi there, I may have the answer you've been looking for: I used to run a 50- horse boarding facility in a flood-prone area. In the winter, the horses wood churn up the mud so bad, some would be almost up to their knees in soupy mud. Tried everything, nothing worked. Then an old pro suggested wood pellets (the kind sold for pellet stoves), & to our surprise, this solved the problem completely. Turns out this stuff is the most absorbent, best bedding we've ever found, and it's not even marketed for that! The pellets are sold in 50# bags for about $6-$7 a bag, but you can often find a store that will give you a deal on broken or rained on bags, or even free, (b/c it turns to sawdust when it gets wet & is useless as stove fuel then). 1 bag will easily cover a 12' x 12' area. It will not look like it at 1st, as it takes a few hrs for it to absorb the water & fully expand, but you will be impressed how much mud 1 bag can take on. The wood is compressed so tightly, that when it comes in contact with moisture, it sucks it up & expands about 20X it's original size. Once it fully expands, it becomes a soft, great smelling carpet for your chickens to enjoy. The wood has natural tannins, so it doesn't rot & start to smell bad like straw. It packs down & you can throw their food on it, and once it packs down, it's easy to remove the manure from it by gently raking it up. The wood they make it from is hardwood &v it is very clean- it can't contain any noxious chemicals, b/c people burn it for heat & fumes from chemicals would be dangerous if inhaled as smoke.
I use wood pellets in all my coops now, almost exclusively. Sometimes I mix it in w/some sand. Sometimes I even have to spray water on the pellets to get them to break down, as they use up the surrounding moisture quickly. All of my coops are now mud- free and have a pleasant woody smell as a bonus! I would say it is definitely worth a try, good luck!
My run, for the most part, is not under roof. What happens when this product gets rained on? I assume it just gets wet and would either dry out or you would put more down? Is this something you buy at tractor supply?


Crossing the Road
Premium member
Sep 7, 2015
New Lenox township. Illinois USA
My Coop
My Coop


Feb 23, 2019
SE Wisconsin
Perhaps the hot mess was good for the birds?
It was actually more stressful for me. I also thought it was good for them to walk on in the winter, and for insulation on the OUTSIDE of the coop. I haven't used it since...I had a mess to clean up in the spring.
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