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Muddy Chicken Yard Fix

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ursusarctosana, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Spokane, WA
    Hello,

    The snow is beginning to melt and my backyard chicken yard is turning into a mud hole. I'm thinking about covering the yard in a layer of pea gravel to promote drainage.

    Does anyone have any cost-effective suggestions regarding how to filter the run-off and cut down odor at the same time, making the yard a better place for the chickens throughout the spring melt or during rain build-up?

    To give an idea, the yard is bordered by a slab of concrete so I am unable to divert the run-off, especially if it is smelly, onto the concrete as it will simply run into an adjoining alley. This is the first winter thawing experience and I'm taking steps as I go, learning and learning. Any suggestions will be helpful.

    Also, I have a doggie dooley (http://www.doggiedooley.com/) that I can install. I could sort of squeegee the top layer of mud into some version of a doggie dooley and add the biodegradable product to the mix; but I don't know how economical this would be when disposing of the entire top layer of mud in a chicken yard--or even if it would be feasible.

    It would not be so bad if the waste didn't collect in muddy pools.
     
  2. ursusarctosana

    ursusarctosana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Spokane, WA
    Oops! I see there is a similar topic.
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd build up, possibly with sand...and anything you can do in future to improve drainage will be of benefit...
     
  4. mmtillman

    mmtillman Chillin' With My Peeps

    This might not work for your problem...but we had a river of mud too..so bought extra hay bails and spread it deep where the mud is....looks bad..but sure is better then that suckin sound you hear when you take a step and your shoe is swallowed up in muck and you are standing there like a flamingo ....[​IMG] on one leg....[​IMG]
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:First piece of advice is a big one: DO NOT PUT DOWN GRAVEL RIGHT NOW. HOnest. You put sand or gravel into already-muddy ground, it disappears within weeks or months, a year *tops*. Whereas if you wait til the ground is hard and dry (like REALLY dry, summer-dry), it will last a loooong time before mixing significantly into the dirt. BTW sand or gravel that mixes into mud does not create sandy- or gravelly-mud... it just vanishes as if you'd never paid for it and killed your back putting it there [​IMG] Really truly. Don't do it. Wait. Then put down LOTS, like 4-6".

    For temporary 'first-aid' right now, you want a coarse organic material. Ideally coarse bark or wood chippings, but straw will do if you must. Don't use shavings or anything else fine like that.

    Put in a *lot*, enough that the chickens are raised up above water level. You may need to add more at some point. Then make sure to remove it later this year (rake out and use as mulch or compost or soil amendment) before it starts to decompose into the ground -- it adds organic material to the soil as it decomposes, and the more organic material the soil has, the muddier it will get, for longer, and stinkier, in the future.

    To give an idea, the yard is bordered by a slab of concrete so I am unable to divert the run-off, especially if it is smelly, onto the concrete as it will simply run into an adjoining alley.

    I'm sorry, I'm not quite grasping this. What is the problem with having it 'run down an adjoining alley'? Also, what is the reason it is not possible to intercept water before it gets *into* the chicken run? Sorry to be dense [​IMG]

    Also, I have a doggie dooley (http://www.doggiedooley.com/) that I can install. I could sort of squeegee the top layer of mud into some version of a doggie dooley and add the biodegradable product to the mix; but I don't know how economical this would be when disposing of the entire top layer of mud in a chicken yard--or even if it would be feasible.

    No. Don't even try.

    It would not be so bad if the waste didn't collect in muddy pools.

    The main thing is to limit how much water is going INTO the run. Les in, less out. Use gutters on all structures, redirect downspouts well away, put up a roof or even just tarp if feasible, use trenches uphill to redirect water, etc etc.

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Michigan
    Think twice before using hay, folks. Chickens can easily become crop bound from it (search on here and you'll find out how/why).

    Straw is okay to use, but you need a lot, and it's a lot of work removing it once it's dry.

    I use a few pallets (which I always have on hand anyway) in my muddy areas until it dries out. It's not pretty, but at least the chickens can get out and not have to stand in the mud.
     
  7. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2008
    I was discussing this with my dh last night. Ok so maybe "discussing" isnt really what I was doing seeing as how he will do whatever I suggest when it comes to the chickens.

    We are going to be getting sand for under the pool this year, to level it off. So I just figure to get enough to bring the run up some as well. Then I will be putting down gravel over that.

    Gonna be a fun summer for me. I also have to dig fence posts holes for the privacy fence that WILL be going up this spring after thaw.
     
  8. nightshade

    nightshade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:[​IMG]

    yup and there you stand, one foot bare trying to figure out how your going to get your shoe back with out falling flat on your face in the poo/mud x [​IMG]

    yea I like using gravel, then when everything is not frozen ( like it is now) I can take the garden hose and rinse entire place down, the poo washes down through and it's gone. I found it smells a lot less too and when it is super icky like right now cause of the snow melt I throw more gravel on top. I think I am going to even lay corrugated pipe under my new run and the layer it with bigger gravel with smaller gavel on top. I just have to figure out how to do it cause where we are moving to the coop will actually be on level ground.
     
  9. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    i have gravel down, then sand, and this spring i will add more gravel on top of the sand...so, it should drain pretty well....[​IMG]
     
  10. NancyDz

    NancyDz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    I use something my feed store suggested: Mallard Creek’s Muck Buster.

    It's been great and not too expensive. It's wood chips but very absorbant. You pour it in your run and then press it into the ground with your boots/shoes. It's helped my
    run immensely , I've been using it since last spring with no problems. After using 3 bags to cover my run, I havent had to replace it yet this winter. I can't remember how much it was
    but I think under $7 a bag. Well worth the lack of mud! Ask your local feed store if they carry it. Just make sure you press it into the mud, otherwise the chickens scratch it up. They still do a little but that's mostly in the dry areas of the run.


    Good luck !

    Nancy
     

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