muddy feet feather

Wurmbag

In the Brooder
Jun 5, 2021
17
22
34
Oregon
my flock is mostly bantam ICochin and Cochin mixes, and I live in the Pacific Northwest, where it rains most of the year. last year most of my birds feet feather broke off or I had to cut them back because of the rain. their run gets pretty muddy, I put down sand usually which helps but isnt a perfect fix. as well as they free range most of the time. does anyone have any tips about keeping their feet clean or at least protecting their feet feathers? I can't keep them in the run because of mud.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
12,039
31,660
1,116
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Mud in the run has multiple possible causes each with a different solution:

1. Water runs off the coop and/or other nearby structures and gets into the run. Solution -- add gutters to divert water from the run.

2. The drainage pattern of the ground creates runoff channels through the run. Solution -- diversion ditches and/or French drain and/or grass swales to direct water around the run.

3. The chicken area sits in a low spot where water accumulates. Solution -- move the chickens to higher ground. Alternately, have the area professionally filled and re-graded (can be surprisingly affordable for small jobs but success is 100% dependent on the operator knowing what he's doing).

4. Excessive rain falling into an open run. Solution -- roof the run (and don't forget #1 so you don't cause a new problem while eliminating another).

In addition to whatever factor/combination of factors is causing the problem, adding plenty of dry organic material to the run usually helps. Coarse wood chips, the sort you get from a tree-trimming service, are usually considered the gold standard for dealing with mud in the run. :)
 

Silkie fluff butts

In the Brooder
Jun 15, 2021
40
79
44
I live in the pacific NW also! Our coop and run is in a low area that would get super muddy. But that is still the best place for it. So, we leveled it as best we could, layed down landscaper's fabric (from Lowe's) and a good 4 inches of pea gravel. It works beautifully!!! And it didn't cost much either. So worth it! The landscaper fabric keeps the gravel from sinking into the mud but still lets the water soak into the ground beneath. The chicken poop breaks down and sinks beneath the gravel. It has stayed very clean. We did this last summer, so I don't know how long this will last. So far, I don't see any downsides or complications.
 

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