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keeping healthy chucks through winter: regarding - mud, mud, glorious mud

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chrissy E, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Chrissy E

    Chrissy E New Egg

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    I would like to check out with other chucky keepers, I have just gone through my first winter with Lottie, Lucy & Linda (Shavers)
    My run is 3.5 metres x 2 metres. The coop and run are joined together.
    In winter we had heaps of RAIN and I let the girls into the run when ever posssible.
    I do have a question - it's coming up.
    Lots of scratching and digging later, I have one big quagmire of mud, I tried saw dust or the odd handful of clean straw.
    Lots of scratching and digging later and more rain, it's still a quagmire. And it can get pongy/smelly. Should I be worrried or not?
    Also, I probably was worried they would get foot rot??
    ? Do other the chicken keepers worry about this?
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! managing water in the run involves three main issues; Fix any drainage problems, before building it if possible. Cover the run with a roof, again wonderful if you can. Third, deep litter and stuff, which can be made deeper every year, or shoveled out and used in the garden. Stinky mud is not a healthy place to be. Mary
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict


    I'd say you need MUCH more space, for one, and you can also start using deep litter material there....in a run you can start with pine shavings, bark, etc., basically anything that will bulk up your ground floor of mud, then layer in leaves, straw, wood chips, etc. as you need more dry material. With a run that small, it might be easier to just cover the run too. You'll need something along the sides of the run to keep material IN the run and stop the hens from kicking it out.
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It seems as though you have 2 square meters per bird, which should be enough. The mud situation, however, is not so good.

    My solution to the mud is what others have said, deep litter. I have an abundance of old grass hay, so that is what I use. On the garden area, which they tend to use as their run, it looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    An extra bale or so, left as the bale, is used by the birds to hop around on. Over time, they soil it too, which then becomes moldy and starts to rot. When it's time top open it up, they tear it up and fling it round looking for the bugs inside. They also dig under the flluffy stuff looking for bugs below. It not, toss on a hand full of scratch grain and they will. When spring arrives, this will be a rich seed bed ready to plant. Just about any run can be made to look the same way, assuming the run is elevated and rain etc. drains from it and not into it.
     
  5. SoCalhens

    SoCalhens New Egg

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    We use construction sand. But make sure it's washed and doesn't have any chemicals in it. I don't remember the chemical to watch out for but the chicken chick has a great article regarding sand in the coop and run. We use sand and it works great! Just make sure it's construction sand. If you use play ground sand, I've heard it stinks when it gets wet. Sand usually soaks up the moisture and our run is uncovered also. It works great for us. So, I hope this helps!
     
  6. SoCalhens

    SoCalhens New Egg

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    Mar 31, 2016
    Fontana, California
    Howard, love your chickens! They're beautiful!!
     
  7. Chrissy E

    Chrissy E New Egg

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    Sep 30, 2016
    THANK YOU to Bee kissed; SoCalhens; HowardE; Folley's place. And replying so promptly.
    You have given me lots to think about. Never thought about drainage..... it was my first winter as I mentioned and this winter, boy, has it rained. I tried a large plastic cover, thought it was really well secured with ropes and punched in stalpes. First night heavy rain and wind.... half of cover blown loose, re-secured, next night, heavy rains and winds, great the cover was blown off into the garden.
    I laugh about it now. The idea of making better drainage, and bulking out the soil sounds good. So I will try that. Thanks again to everyone for all the tips. Chrissy E
    Seasons Greetings and a Happy Christmas time to you all
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Sand may work in dry California, but not in wet/ damp climates, without constant (daily!) fussing. Mary
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Chrissy, a few ?'s. What was the drainage like in that area before you put the run there? Did the water stand, or did it drain off ok? If it drained off ok, that's great. Do you have an area in your yard that is lower than the run? Here's my suggestion? dig a drainage ditch around the run. If you've not put a skirt around the run, you could do a 2fer, and install a skirt after you've dug the ditch. Then you can back fill over the skirt with pea stone, or lay some perforated drainage pipe, with some gravel, then cover over with soil and grass seed or cover with sod. Continue the drainage ditch to the lowest area adjacent to your run. In addition, work on building up a deep litter in the run. Be sure to add compostable materials of varying size. (Wood chips, used coop litter, leaves, grass clippings, more leaves, garden debris, hay or straw, and what ever else you can get your hands on) Aim for it to be at least 6" deep. Give them a pallet or two in the run as well. I like to make a pallet cave by laying it across a couple bales of hay. They LOVE this.

    If you had standing water in that area before building your run, you have a major job to do in providing good drainage. Imagine what your feet would look like if you stood in a bath tub 24/7!!!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Yep, drainage is number one.
    Adding dry plant material is number two.....
    .....the deeper the better but even if you can only add a bit at a time,
    I found it to help immediately with muck and odor.


    Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992
     

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