Mud Ball Toes!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FrancesR, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. FrancesR

    FrancesR In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2010
    [​IMG] Okay everyone, I need some advice. I have 2 coops with outside runs, but neither run is covered against rain. We are in the rainy season here in Hawaii and we have some serious mud. Our soil is good at draining, but it does have clay fines mixed with the volcanic porous stuff, so it gets slimey and sticky when wet. I've just been dumping straw into the runs to keep them from turning into hog wallows, but I'm seeing some of my chickens with huge mud balls on the ends of their toes. I have just spent 45 minutes cleaning up one of my barred rocks with a scrub brush, warm water and a gentle detergent. She was wrapped in an old blanket and put up with the indignity OK, but I don't want to have to do this any more and I can see at least four more ladies out there in need of pedicures. Any suggestions on how to clean up toes or how to prevent this in the first place? The mudballs were composed of grass, mud, poop, and feathers. I picked up the hen that looked the worst and cleaned her up first, but I really don't know if there's a better way then hanging her over the sink wrapped in a blanket and scrubbing....soaking with detergent seems to help dislodge the stuff, but it's almost like concrete. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
  2. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Boerne, TX
    We have had that problem also. would soak their feet in warm water and work them off with a warm wet washcloth. Pain, huh?
  3. Sooner

    Sooner My kids Mom!

    Mar 22, 2009
    Scrubbing then is the only way I know also. If you have a large pen maybe put some wood pallets down for them to walk on to at least be able to get out of the mud.....not sure if it will help but it can't hurt.
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Chicken poop and clay are both so crusty when they dry. What a mess for you! It's hard to deal with when you're in the middle of the rainy season. When things get better, I'd add a thick layer of sand on top, to cover the dirt that turns into mud and provide more drainage for the surface. You'll probably need to add a board or something to retain the sand, so it doesn't wash out. Sand can also be raked, to remove excess chicken poop and feathers.

    Have you thought about tarping at least part of the run? Then at least part of the run would be drier for them. Pallets would at least get them out of the mud part of the time. You could try dumping something like a heavy layer of wood chips or straw in the run for now. If you've got so much water that it's got puddles, you might end up with a pretty gunky mess with that, too.
  5. FrancesR

    FrancesR In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2010
    We ended up covering the entire run and adding sand. It was just too much work to keep cleaning toes, and the poor birds were so uncomfortable dragging those mudballs around.

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