Muddy coop run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Smiley Chicks, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Smiley Chicks

    Smiley Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    43
    0
    39
    Sep 30, 2015
    Upstate NY
    Hello! Our chickens are enclosed and have never free ranged them. It's a muddy mess and nothing left for them to eat except feed we give them. If I let them out in the yard will they go back to coop at night? We're going to put moveable fencing in the spring butworried about them being in coop all day. Chickens are 8 months old
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,971
    2,988
    476
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    They've certainly imprinted on the coop by now. They'll go back at dusk provided they don't fly over another fence and can't figure out how to get back in.

    Can you move the coop to higher ground or add soil to elevate the ground in the pen?
    They dig and compress soil so starting with flat ground will eventually make it the lowest spot. Always go high on a slope or at the top of a knoll.

    Even if it wasn't mud and you started out with excellent forage for groundcover, chickens will quickly eradicate all plant life in a pen. Between scratching, soil compaction and excess phosphorus from feces, it's impossible to get anything to grow where there is any kind of chicken stocking density.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  3. Smiley Chicks

    Smiley Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    43
    0
    39
    Sep 30, 2015
    Upstate NY
    It is higher up and we can't move it's a shed coop set on cement blocks. There's only a fenced area around coop. I'm just wondering if they'll find their way back before dark [​IMG]
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi. [​IMG]
    Chances are they may not venture far at first.

    They won't have any problem finding their way back to the coop. They know that is their safety! Even my chicks, once homed even for just a few days, find their way back when I wouldn't think they could. They usually stay in a group and if one gets separated they try desperately to get back with their group. Like Canoe said, as long as they don't accidentally get stuck behind a fence and can't get back in.

    Are they laying eggs yet? Are you going to keep them in the fenced area around the coop or completely free? Either way there won't be a problem finding home before it gets dark, it's what they naturally do. Chickens are creatures of habit and as such will want to be where they are used to being.

    You can use a treat in the same container that you shake and call "chicky, chickie" or whatever you are comfy with as a way of drawing them back into the coop sooner if you need them to return for whatever reason. Meal worms is a favorite!

    Biggest concern is hidden nests and predators. Coming home, no problem. I free range and do have "hidden nests". Haven't lost any to predators yet, but my neighbors have. I have dogs that helps a little. You just have to decide what works for you.

    They will be thankful!

    Good luck!
     
  5. Smiley Chicks

    Smiley Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    43
    0
    39
    Sep 30, 2015
    Upstate NY
    Thank you so much! I think I'm going to try it on the next decent day. We also have two Newfies so that will keep them semi protected! Fingers crossed!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,696
    9,188
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  7. Smiley Chicks

    Smiley Chicks Out Of The Brooder

    43
    0
    39
    Sep 30, 2015
    Upstate NY
    Thank you for the video link that's some pretty good info. It's just the run that's muddy, the inside actually has linoleum to protect wood floor then we put pine shavings down and a good thick level of straw and clean that often. Question about the wood chips...they dye those and have arsenic
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,696
    9,188
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Most folks use wood chips from tree trimmers....no dyes.
     
  9. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Almost all of the 400 Ft2 of my run is actually built out of mulched, and nicely composted now, thanks to the chickens, oak leaves. Two years worth. And while it does get muddy when it rains, it's porous enough that it dries out rather quickly (it's all built on a hill). I'm sure they're going to go crazy it when I bring in a fresh batch from this year's fall too. I also sweep the old Coop Clean into the pen and let them spread it around.

    I guess this is a sort of deep litter method, except that I'm doing it outside instead of inside the coop
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by