1. 3 sisters farm

    3 sisters farm Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    puyallup wa
    I live in washington state...so it rains and rains and rains. I have tarps on the side that the heavy rains come in, and more than half the runs covered....some places are dry...but water seeps in from surrounding areas. This will be my first winter with chickens. I positioned the runs with enough of a slope they do drain. The dirt is glacial till with the water table only a few inches deep....one acre is actually about 2 inches under water about 1 month of the year....no chickens there! The bark/mulch available would contain mostly fir....but cedar is also a native species here. I have a big pile I can get for free...mom ordered too much for her house! Sand tends to wash away....gravel does not work that well....tends to sink into the muck and disappear!
  2. lovemychix

    lovemychix Songster

    Oct 14, 2008
    Moulton Iowa
    I'm going to rake leaves and put in mine later today. I think it will dry it out a bit...mine is also wet.
  3. consdrs

    consdrs Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    Vancouver, WA
    I live in WA state also. rain is such a issue! we covered our runs. I LOVE having a sand run! its about 2.5 - 3" deep. we have 2x4's surrounding the run and the sand so far stays in place. we clean it with a small shrub rake found at Walmart. kinda like a kitty litter scoop. LOVE LOVE LOVE SAND!!

    Connie in Vancouver
  4. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    I have had the same problems over time, although I live in OK where the Devil lives and makes the weather, our soil is dense clay silt the result of the dust bowl days. our rain is not really rain it is hide the women and children storms, hence the name Tornado Alley. Anyway I also got so tired of trying to keep the run in managable condition, this is what i did. I laid down a 2" thick concrete floor, it was not very expensive although my coop & run's are pretty big. The way I did it was to lay down ready mix concrete dry, and raked it over to level it, then I sprayed it with alot of water enough to really soak it. Then I carried a piece of 3/4" plywood to kneel on, and the hose and a trowel. I just moved around the area spraying and smoothing, spaying and smoothing, till it was done. I left the chickens out of it for a day till it cured, and wha-La done. Now let me say this was the best thing I have ever done for the birds and myself, it is so easy to clean, I just rake up the VERY LIGHT layer of straw and Poo, and then just hose it out. I am also able to keep it more sanitary as I sometimes pour bleach on it then hose that out twice a yr, makes it smell clean. during the heavy rains it just drains right out, and the birds stay dry and do not track muddy feet everywhere. some folks don't like this idea, they prefer sand, when sand get's wet and layered with droppings over and over again, it is like poopy sand, still gross if you ask me. but I wil tell you this concrete thing is great on you and the chickens.

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  5. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I'm in washington also, and my run is completely tarped. I have been using wood chip, and have been very happy with it, the chicks love to scratch in it and it never smells. The soil around here drains really well though. I use packaged pine shavings in the coop area to avoid any mold issues. Seems like bark would be fine in the run, if you use it please report back on how it worked for you.
  6. chickmamawannabe

    chickmamawannabe Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Canby, Or-y-gun
    Just be sure to get a mulch that DOESN'T have cedar in it! Cedar can kill your chickens.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Cedar mulch in a run is not a problem. Only in an enclosed place (coop) is there a possibility of respiratory issues... and even then, it depends a lot on many factors, b/c note that LOTS of people (including huge commercial operations) use cedar bedding without a problem. (I'm not suggesting it, just pointing out that even *indoors* it is often ok)

    Putting a coarse mulch in the run to remedy mud is fine, but remember to remove and replace it when it starts to break down, or you will end up with more and worse mud [​IMG]

    The secret btw to preventing sand or gravel from just disappearing into mud is, do NOT put them down until the ground is dead dry and hard. It makes a huge difference.

    Have fun,

  8. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    3 sisters, how big is your run? Are the tarps working OK for you?

    I have two small runs in my yard, and we roofed both with tinted polycarbonate. Because we are on a gentle slope, rain has a tendency to wash through, so I also laid a landscape edging of bricks along the outside of the main pen so water does not run down the hill through the pen ~ it goes around. I think that simple project has helped more than the roof, LOL! You might look to the way water drains across your property and find ways to encourage water to run away from your pens.

    Hope that helps. I like the sand idea, too. Seems to me with coarse sand you could just scoop it out like a cat litter box!

    Good luck, and do let us know how it works out.
  9. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    My outside run is all cedar chips, and although they are breaking down thanks to the little feathered bulldozers running around on them, they work great. Water drains through it, and even where the dozer's dig their holes there is no standing water. Perhaps next summer when it drys out and is lighter to move in a wheel barrel, I'll remove a top layer, and load some fresh stuff in.

    For some reason cedar gets a bad rep, but like Patandchickens says, it's often used with no ill results. If you had fine cedar sawdust, that was really dusty, I think that would make the respiratory concerns justified.

    I use pine shavings in my hen house.
  10. 3 sisters farm

    3 sisters farm Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    puyallup wa
    Standing water is a bid problem, the reason why this are has been low density is just due to that. I have a slight slope to the run, have tarped the windward hence rainward side of the runs and have about 60% of the run covered with the old 70's style corregated plastic, with overlaping and wood supports.....eventually will 100%...buy a few with each paycheck! Its dryer where covered but unless I put the runs next to the house...which sits on top of the slight hill I have some runoff entering from the slight change in elevation.....an this is a very, very slight change in elevation ie 1% grade. I use pine shavings in the coop....but I tried that in the run....and fell on my butt....much to the amusement of my kids and animals....I swear my lab can laugh. mary

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