Ideas for keeping my run dry?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 23, 2011
Buckley, WA
I have a coop with a run that is chicken wired in...but the floor of the run (dirt) is always getting all muddy from the rain. I tried plastic over the chicken wire on the top but only succeeded in creating a giant water balloon in the plastic that has practically caved in the roof. I have heard sand is good but before I make a major investment, wanted to hear all the various ideas out there. We are so blessed with lots of rain in WA but I need it to dry up:) Help!
If you are going to keep it uncovered then sand is likely the best option. I've read many posts about the benefits of sand for coops and runs. The other option would be to cover the run. Polycarbonate roofing panels over a basic support would not be too expensive or difficult to do.
Check out my "fixing a muddy run" page (link in .sig below) for a bunch of ways of dealing with the problem -- it usually works best if you do as many different things as feasible, rather than JUST rely on adding sand or whatever.

As you have noticed, a tarp over the run does not work unless it is supported very very strongly AND pitched sharply, so it doesn't catch water. An actual solid roof works far far better but, obviously, is rather pricey. In some climates/sites you can do a reasonably-useful 'fakey' roof, though, by erecting a cattle panel hoophouse over your run (do not try this with pvc, you NEED cattle panels, and it needs to be a relatively narrow steep hoophouse too) and then attaching a tarp over that. If you live somewhere windy, this will tend to leave, sometimes messily. If you make the hoop too flat/shallow, it will still catch rain and sag/collapse. But if you live somewhere where high winds are not a big issue and you build it right, you can get reasonable mileage out of something like that.

Good luck, have fun,


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