Muddy chicken run


Nov 22, 2020
Hello chicken friends,
I have an extremely muddy chicken run and am looking for solutions. My research has lead me to pine pellets covered with playground bark. Anyone had luck with this method? Also, I learned about stall dry. I have googled it and can’t seem to find info on anyone using stall dry in a chicken run. Has anyone tried it? Can I just dump a bag of stall dry I to the mud pits? FYI my chickens are not free range, they stay in their run and have a nice coop they have free access to and are locked in at night.
There are a number of threads on mud in the run that contain considerable information to help you figure out the best option. You can find them by doing a search.

For immediate, short-term relief, try putting down some pallets and intact straw bales to get the chicken's feet out of the wet. Then have a good look at your run to see if the problem is:

1. Rain saturating an uncovered run and overwhelming the capability of the litter to absorb it?

2. Water running over the ground through the run?

3. Water pooling in the run because it's the lowest spot available?

For #1 it might be enough to put some kind of cover over the run and add more dry litter -- wood chips, straw, pine straw, shavings, whatever you have available.

For #2 and #3 you're going to have to fix your drainage problem.

#2 needs a diversion ditch now and the installation of a French drain or re-grading the area to channel water around the chicken run.

#3 is best fixed by relocating your chicken run out of the low spot but could possibly be fixed by building up the run area with a load of soil.
The biggest question is: what's causing the mud?

Is the run in a drainage? Do you have a roof on it? What kind of soil is in there? Where abouts are you located?
I’m in the Pacific northwest. The cause is chickens digging up all the grass and digging holes. I’m not digging drains or putting in ditches and they can not be moved. Just looking for people who’ve used pine pellets or stall dry. Or anything else that works better to add to the mud to make it better.
If you have a drainage problem then nothing on earth will fix the mud problem except to fix the drainage.

If you do not have a drainage problem then adding plenty of dry organic material as bedding will do the job.

x2. There's no magical way to fixing a run with a drainage issue if additional drainage is not provided. A solid roof can help but oversaturation of ground water can't be fixed with a roof.

IF drainage is not an issue at the location, then look into deep litter. A mix of CHUNKY aged wood chips, plus other organic materials to encourage good bacteria to flourish in the soil and break down poop, will provide drainage and stabilize the soil. My run used to be so thick with sticky mud that it was pulling the boots right off my feet - I've been slowly augmenting with layers of wood chips since then, plus lawn clippings in summer, dried leaves in fall. Now super stable and has superior drainage compared to the rest of the surrounding lawn.
I live in a swamp, so I am no stranger to mud. After years of trial and error the only thing that worked for me was to raise the ground about 6 inches. We took soil from the back of our property and just loaded it up slab by slab until the run was significantly higher than everything else. It was held in by base boards, but it was clay so it held well anyway. The run is covered.
Try your luck with all the cheap stuff and then give up and raise the ground. 100% works -and permanently.
Try your luck with all the cheap stuff and then give up and raise the ground. 100% works -and permanently.

I'm kinda getting there just from building up the deep litter over the years. I haven't removed any for quite a while so it's slowly getting thicker over time. Made some difference last year when the yard flooded, twice, as standing flood water cleared out of the run before anywhere else on the property.

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