Mucky, Muddy, Stinky Run after Torrential Rains

kittybethaustin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 19, 2014
62
5
38
Austin, Texas
We are having an unusual amount of rain for Austin, Texas which is great, but I'm left with a horrible, mucky mess in the chicken run. I'm doing deep litter in their open air coop (10x10 dog pen with a cover). The rain has invaded that to some degree but it seems salvageable. The problem is the run - 25 x 20 foot area that is not covered. I have 25 hens so there's quite a bit of poop production. Through the winter I was putting down collected leaves for the girls to scratch around in. It got wet with the occasional rain but then would dry out. I threw down more leaves as needed. It wasn't ideal but was tolerable. At present, there's crater lakes from the dusting bathing spots and several inches of poop infused mud throughout the pen. It's hazardous to walk on because it's very slippery and it stinks to high heaven. How do I salvage this mess? We have a lot more rain predicted for the rest of May. Looks like our drought is finally breaking!
 

monkcat

Chirping
Apr 5, 2015
209
70
78
South Mississippi - MS/LA border
I'm waiting to see what responses you get. I'm doing deep litter too and so far, so good. But we too are getting torrential rains and some of the open air coop floor is wet. Ours does drain well and their feet are dry in much of the coop. And it dries quickly (the top at least) But the run is uncovered and is grassy still at this point. But it won't be for long!

I have a feeling the answer is to really heap more litter down. Lots of leaves and straw. That way it covers the poop and keeps smell down. That's my .02. Hope more experience chimes in soon.
 

flocking-crazy

In the Brooder
May 12, 2015
24
2
26
Northern beaches Sydney Australia
Hi kittybethaustin, I had the same issue, to fix it I used 65mm drainage ag pipe $15 (Black pipe with holes) and about 200kg $20 of 10mm blue metal (drainage rocks). and bought 2 tonne of 80/20 sand/soil mix from a large landscape supply company $60.
If you don't have water puddles that stay around for hours after the rain you might not have to use the ag pipe. But my soil was very dense and held a lot of water. You can always dig the trenches after the sand goes down if it doesn't work. The end result you want to acheive is about 50-100mm of sandy/soil mix onto of your soil. It is really easy to clean and water drains straight through.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,042
581
Southern Oregon
My quick, temp fix is straw. Enough to cover the area with a good 6 inches or so. This will manage the mud and most of the odor until things dry up and you can decide on a more permanent drainage solution. For that, I'm looking at getting a few loads of decomposed granite. We put it down in the horse paddock and have been pleased with it there, so I'm hoping it will work as a base for the chicken run.
 

kittybethaustin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 19, 2014
62
5
38
Austin, Texas
I went and got some pine shavings last night. That was the only thing I could get my hands on in the evening. That has already made it better in the grow out pen that's in a corner of my run. Will buy some straw bales today. More coverage for the price from those. I do think I need either sand or crushed granite in the area of the pen where I keep waterers, feeders, feed storage, etc. One problem is that my land is flat so once the ground is saturated, there's no place for the water to go. I'm torn about which to try first, sand or crushed granite? I'm leaning towards trying granite first to put down as a base to elevate the top half of the pen/coop area. Monkcat, I also think putting more and more leaves, straw, etc. down is probably the way to go, at least in the majority of the run. That's what I was doing all winter. Fluff it up if areas get packed down. I don't have time to scoop the poop for 25 chickens and I think that's what you have to do if you go with all sand in a run. Plus the girls love for me to toss in a new batch of leaves or weeds, etc. for them to scatter looking for goodies. I don't know how that would work with sand in all of the run.
 

kittybethaustin

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 19, 2014
62
5
38
Austin, Texas
Hi kittybethaustin, I had the same issue, to fix it I used 65mm drainage ag pipe $15 (Black pipe with holes) and about 200kg $20 of 10mm blue metal (drainage rocks). and bought 2 tonne of 80/20 sand/soil mix from a large landscape supply company $60.
If you don't have water puddles that stay around for hours after the rain you might not have to use the ag pipe. But my soil was very dense and held a lot of water. You can always dig the trenches after the sand goes down if it doesn't work. The end result you want to acheive is about 50-100mm of sandy/soil mix onto of your soil. It is really easy to clean and water drains straight through.

Flocking-crazy I really like this idea a lot for the top portion of my pen where the coop section is. I have clay soil so it does hang onto water once it gets soggy like this. We rarely get this much rain in a short period though. I'll be doing some temporary fixes this weekend but will hang onto your idea for a permanent solution.
 

snowwhitejen

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 13, 2015
56
4
81
My quick, temp fix is straw. Enough to cover the area with a good 6 inches or so. This will manage the mud and most of the odor until things dry up and you can decide on a more permanent drainage solution. For that, I'm looking at getting a few loads of decomposed granite. We put it down in the horse paddock and have been pleased with it there, so I'm hoping it will work as a base for the chicken run.

We use DG and it works great!!!!
 

monkcat

Chirping
Apr 5, 2015
209
70
78
South Mississippi - MS/LA border
I went and got some pine shavings last night.  That was the only thing I could get my hands on in the evening.  That has already made it better in the grow out pen that's in a corner of my run.  Will buy some straw bales today. More coverage for the price from those.  I do think I need either sand or crushed granite in the area of the pen where I keep waterers, feeders, feed storage, etc.  One problem is that my land is flat so once the ground is saturated, there's no place for the water to go.  I'm torn about which to try first, sand or crushed granite?  I'm leaning towards trying granite first to put down as a base to elevate the top half of the pen/coop area.  Monkcat, I also think putting more and more leaves, straw, etc. down is probably the way to go, at least in the majority of the run.  That's what I was doing all winter. Fluff it up if areas get packed down.     I don't have time to scoop the poop for 25 chickens and I think that's what you have to do if you go with all sand in a run.  Plus the girls love for me to toss in a new batch of leaves or weeds, etc. for them to scatter looking for goodies. I don't know how that would work with sand in all of the run. 
I think in the other thread sand was actually mentored in the run with the dlm. Can't remember the specifics though. Mine love the fresh rankings to dig through. Just put some in this morning.
 

NightOwl3

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jan 27, 2014
72
7
31
Ours is a stinky muddy mess too. I've been weeding and throwing all the weeds in the run along with grass clippings and straw. It helps some. And the hens love the greens.
 

OKusmcChckens

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2015
15
0
22
Oklahoma
I'm having the same problem with muck that isn't drying out. Currently mine is just dirt which I normally can rake up the majority of the poop and throw it in the compost bin. If you use DG or sand for the floor how do you clean the poop out?
 

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