1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Is hay ok for a temporary fix?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by shannondee12, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. shannondee12

    shannondee12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    20
    103
    Mar 8, 2013
    Left Hand, WV
    I was wondering on everyones opinions of using hay for a few weeks in the run until I can get straw? I live in a very rural community and the closest place I can find straw is over an hour away but they won't have anymore in for 2 weeks. I have access to unlimited hay but I was told not to use it in the run. My run is getting muddy and I wanted to put something in there to keep the chickens and ducks out of the mud. Do you think it would be ok for a few weeks or would it be the lesser of 2 evils if I just left it yucky muddy? I plan on putting sand in the coop and run next spring.
     
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,170
    102
    181
    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    The big difference is the seeds that come with hay. Of course, the chickens will eat most of the seeds and all of anything that sprouts. So there may not be a problem with hay.

    Chris
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I honestly wouldn't use either. If the run is very wet and muddy I think you are going to be very unhappy with either hay or straw in there very quickly. It's going to become a soggy, wet, stinky mess that will be a real back breaker to clean out. Wet hay/straw will also get moldy.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    5,545
    223
    288
    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Build it up with SAND if you want to FIX mud the problem.

    Adding organic material will only make it hold MORE moisture
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. shannondee12

    shannondee12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    20
    103
    Mar 8, 2013
    Left Hand, WV
    I thought that straw was better due to it not holding moisture like the hay does. I was told to use it to keep the smell down also in the run. It's not super muddy as of yet but I kind of want to prevent it from getting to bad. I have 3 ducks and 6 chickens at 12 weeks old and 2 ducks and 4 chickens at 4 weeks old. Sand isn't an option until spring. Any other suggestions?
     
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    5,545
    223
    288
    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Hay and straw are both still basically just dead grass, composed mostly of cellulose

    When it stays wet, it rots.
    One may rot a little faster, but they both end up the same

    Sand will never change at all, and will allow water to drain away
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,690
    5,439
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Where are you located? Knowing your climate would help and you can put it in your profile.

    Why is the run muddy?
    Is there a water drainage issue on the site that could be changed so rain water doesn't end up in the run?

    Or is it just from your ducks water? There are lots of clever ideas on here on how to keep the duck water mess contained to a smaller area.
    Maybe ask that in the duck forum, or just do some advanced thread title searching.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. shannondee12

    shannondee12 Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    20
    103
    Mar 8, 2013
    Left Hand, WV
    I am in southern WV. The climate will go from one extreme to the next. My Duck "pond" is a garden tub that I re-did and put into the ground and lined the area around it with stone and it works great at keeping the water down. It's actually the area of the run with the least amount of mud. It is also at the lowest point in the run which is 30 ft long by 20 ft wide. I am assuming the mud is starting due to recent rains. The ducks don't use the pond much because they free range all day with the chickens and spend most of the time in the creek. My chickens think they are ducks and sleep with them at night in the middle of the run in a big pile. I know that the chickens don't have the fat like ducks do to help keep warm so I wanted to add something to the ground to help with warmth and to keep down the poo because I have white Cochins I have tried everything to train them to go in the coop, nothing works. I have an agreement with my neighbor that I will not add sand until the creek bed can be cleaned out via backhoe to make sure the area will not flood and rush the sand down to her garden area(I raised my coop in case but the run area has flooded 2 in the past 15 years) My brother uses straw in his 10 X 10 pen and his 3 chickens seem to love scratching around in the straw looking for stuff but his area has a cover so it stays somewhat dry. Mine does not yet. I might be overthinking this but I want to make sure they are content, so to speak.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,690
    5,439
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    With any sand run, there are sides (usually wood) to contain the sand from washing away.
    Maybe just throw a pallet in the run for the birds to get up off the ground when they huddle at night?
    Maybe get that roof up there, would solve several issues.
    Good Luck.
     
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Agree. If putting in a thick layer of sand now is not an option then I'd be looking at ways to keep rain/water out, including getting the run covered and re-routing any runoff away from the pen. Actually I'd be doing both, regardless, especially with ducks.

    And no, you are not overthinking it. There are things you can do now to avoid having a horrible, stinking mess to clean up come spring! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by