how wet is too wet in the run area?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bassoonmom, May 11, 2010.

  1. bassoonmom

    bassoonmom New Egg

    Mar 13, 2010
    My husband is building a playhouse style coop for our first chickens. The henhouse will be double-walled, insulated, caulked, etc and should stand up to Wisconsin winters. The attached run is protected with half-inch hardware cloth and a full roof. I've noticed in our recent rains that the floor of the run gets wet during storms in spite of the roof. There's one small puddle in the middle and otherwise it's only damp. When the chickens are living in there, I plan to use pine shavings on the floor which will obviously absorb dampness. The girls can clearly retreat to the henhouse during bad storms. I'm wondering how wet is too wet in the run area? Will the damp pine shavings be detrimental to their health? Or will they scratch it up and air it out for me? Is it wise to add plexiglass to the bottom of the run area to keep it more dry? Any comments appreciated!

    Cindy in Madison, Wis.
  2. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Our run is covered too and sometimes water still drips through in places. I definitely would not use plexiglass in the run because you want to encourage drainage and airflow. We have sand in our run and I can't recommend it highly enough. It provides excellent drainage and is easy to clean, PLUS the girlz LOVE all the available floor space to dust -bathe! Personally, I would not use pine shavings outside but I do use them in the coop. I think it will become a matted mess especially with water added.

    Good luck with it, looks like you're off to a great start!
  3. babyblue

    babyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2009
    outside if it gets soaked many times it will turn into a think rotting mat of shaving and poop goo. I would save the shavings for inside the coop and go and get a few bags of cheap kids play sand. it will really help with drainage and the chickens will love it. even if the sand isnt super fine thats just as good cause the chickens will pick up any grit they need from the sand.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You will probably not be happy with using pine shavings in the run outdoors, they'll get all skanky and stinky and keep the run damp and contribute to future mud.

    Also, once the chickens have been IN the run for some while, they will have the ground compacted and holes dug in it and such, and however damp it is now, it is likely to be much worse THEN.

    To answer your actual question, though, I'd say that the thing that most commonly makes people go "man, my run is just too wet!" is that it becomes really stenchy and fly-ey... but from a chicken health viewpoint, it is not good to have it be actively muddy (like, squish squish under chicken feet) for lengthy periods of time, or frequent lasting puddles of water in the dirt.

    You can wait and see how it goes, of course. But it's worth at least contemplating what you will do, if you decide you SHOULD do something. You might take a look at my "fix a muddy run" page, link in .sig below.
    Good luck, have fun,

  5. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Does weather come from a primary direction where you are? In Washington, the bulk of our weather comes from the west. West, NW, SW, etc. Use the same material you used for roofing as sidewall protection from the primary direction you get weather from.
  6. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    I have given this some thought also, we are in New Hamshire and our area has flooded the last 4 years. We have decided that if it floods next spring we will put a piece of plywood up on cinderblocks in the run so that they will have a dry area for a run. We will see how it works!
  7. jBlaze

    jBlaze Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 25, 2008
    Thanks for the question, I will get sand next week! [​IMG]
    There is that low spot...

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