How to stabilize a steep slope in the run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Momo, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    There's no flat land in my neck of the woods. I have a secure covered coop & run (which is flat) inside a larger fenced run (which is not flat). The chickens have been busy landscaping the exterior run and I need to figure out a good way to stabilize the steeper areas. I was thinking about laying stuff like bent old chicken wire, landscape cloth etc directly on the ground. I know this would generally not be good for their feet, but the bulk of the run area would still be dirt & weeds etc for them to scratch around in.

    Hoping to get some input from you folks. Anyone tried this?
  2. Eagle2026

    Eagle2026 HIGH FLYER

    Mar 10, 2009
    Snohomish, WA.
    I have the same thing going on in my run.
    What I have noticed is that if you put up a retaining wall or fence anything, railroad ties, outside of the lower area after a couple of years it starts to fill in.
    My neighbor put up a fence a couple of years back and then planted trees in front of it on his side of the yard so he didn't have to look at the chickens all the time. Well in short this has benefited me as I keep putting straw in there it just keeps getting closer and closer to leveling out. I figure in about 75 years I'll have a good fertile yard out there for someone else to enjoy.


    Good luck!
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Can you do little terrace-like thingies, where you set landscape ties or cedar logs or suchlike into the ground crosswise to the slope to hold up bits of the hillside?

  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I hear you. We live on a hill, too. It would be lovely to have a deep load of sand in the run, once you decide how you want to restrain the area. Do you have a lot of rocks? If so, those rectangular rock baskets are a treat, you position them and fill them with rocks you already have. And a demo site might have some that were removed from a project.
  5. Chieftain

    Chieftain Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2009
    Geez! With that kind of slope, you have to be extremely careful to ensure you don't start creating artificial dams that hold runoff, because you could end up with a sizable landslide or serious erosion.

    If it were me, I would be looking at a series of stabilizing walls that had perforated PVC French drains dug in behind each wall, backfilled with gravel and then covered with earth. There are several different kinds of interlocking landscape stones out there, each with their own manufacturers requirements for installation, that would be suitable for this, and easy to transport to the site. If you build a series of smaller walls, it would be easier than trying to engineer one big one.

    The first problem you have is getting a good solid footing to start out with the first course on. You have to pick your elevation, and excavate it level to stable ground, then add several inches of 3/4" gravel, and use a compactor to pound it down solid. Then you can start your first course, and you're off to the races.

    Just be absolutely sure you plan your drainage with one of those turkey-strangler summertime downpours in mind. In a strong thunderstorm, can your drain system handle all of the water that would be cascading down that slope all at once? Water has great momentum once it gets rolling, and it weighs one pound per pint. It's easier to keep it slowed down than to try and stop it once it gets moving.

    Interesting problem, and I will look forward to seeing what solution you decide upon.

  6. biggin

    biggin Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2009
    I don't know how big of an area you need th stabilize, but you could try mixing up some comcrete and pouring a thin layer over it. It would keep the water from washing away the dirt. The down side is that it won't be strong enough to step on.
  7. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Thanks for the replies. There are two or three fairly big areas that are steep, and building lovely retaining walls isn't really an option ... for the most part there's a good mat of roots, grass & weeds in those areas, and no runoff problems, and I'd obviously like to keep those plants in place, which is another reason I'd like to put wire down. Just wondering if it's an incredibly stupid idea...
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you have a pic or two that we could use to comment? [​IMG]

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