Keeping run dry

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ArchersMom, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. ArchersMom

    ArchersMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2015
    My husband is designing and building a coop for 7 chickens we'll be getting this spring. We live in the Pacific Northwest, near Portland. I've asked him to build a coop with a covered run because we get so much rain. He would like a tractor so that they can range more while being safe, and so that they don't ruin the grass in one spot. I'm not convinced we need a tractor. It just doesn't seem practice for the 5 months a year when the ground will be too wet to move it. I don't want my chickens living in a muddy swamp. Any suggestions or ideas?
  2. rescuechik

    rescuechik New Egg

    I used pea gravel. Learned about it from a world-wide poultry group, a gal who lives in England (verrrrrrry rainy) did it and posted her results for 1.5 years. Worked great for her. So I'm doing my first trial of pea gravel this winter, and the area I used the gravel in is perfect. The rest of the run is a disaster. I'll be filling in the rest of the mud area for next year.
    1 person likes this.
  3. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    If available, I started my run with about 10 inches of free wood chips.

    As the chips decompose, just add more.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
    2 people like this.
  4. Jusbkauz

    Jusbkauz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2014
    This sounds like a great idea, I also have problems during rainy weather with a messy run. How thick is your pea gravel and would't it eventually fill up with poo?
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  6. dlp40

    dlp40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 1, 2015
    Florence sc
    Sand seems to work well for a lot of people. I personally like sand and granit gravel with straw or pine shavings on top.
    I just rake the shavings out every so often when covered in poo.

    Gravel covered in deep sand can be sifted daily for 1 less layer if you wanted. I would think this would drain well and sand balls the poo up well.

    Best advice i ever got try different things until you find what works for you. If yiu don't want to do the maintainence nothing will help though. Deep littler method might work as well.
    Good luck in whatever you choose.
  7. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Yes, in the PNW, we need covered runs. I considered a tractor, but realized that it would work better to have a larger fixed coop and run, for weather protection. Also, I don't have a large enough yard to move a tractor around w/o getting a lot of bare patches.

    Mine run is 6x10. I did pick a spot in the yard that drains well.
    It is covered, and this winter I covered the lower aspect of the run walls (1/2" hardware cloth) with heavy green house plastic, leaving at least a foot open at the top.
    I did this to protect from winds and rain, certainly not worried about our temps.
    I have sand in my covered run. This has worked well.
    You can put gravel down first, but only in dry weather. It will lay on top better as the rains start. Do this if you are worried about drainage. You can put mulch or sand (if covered) on top.

    My secondary outer open run has pine needles, leaves and wood chips in it; if you keep it thick enough, it stays mud free.

    BTW, @ArchersMom , did you know that there is a free way to get wood chips in our general area?
  8. ArchersMom

    ArchersMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2015
    Thanks! @lynnehd I had no idea, but free chips would amazing. I think we're going with a fixed run instead of a tractor. That way I can make it as large as I want and collect more chickens
    1 person likes this.
  9. djsgardens

    djsgardens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2016
    We are in Newberg Oregon and deciding what to use as a pathway through the chicken run. Something that won't get too slippery in the rain but will be safe for the girls. I've read in a couple of places that sand can be dangerous for their respiratory system. We will have a dust bath under their raised coop and dirty in the other areas but we want a human walkway. Would pea gravel be OK for that?
  10. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I'm not sure if I'm understanding 'walkway', because chickens make a mess of everything; it's all mixed up.

    I've been very pleased with wood chips/leaves and pine needles in my open run (uncovered except for netting). I've got at least 4" in there. Poops get buried. Water drains through, so no mud.
    I've kept a pile of wood chips and some bags of leaves, and have been supplementing through the winter.

    Lots of bugs under there!

    Here's a way to get free wood chips. Not sure if it is active in Newberg, but you might check in to it.

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