Need Advice on Firming Up Ground Surface of Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Malpower, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kentfield, California
    We had our first big storm of the season last week and I realize that work needs to be done on the enclosure/run area -- right outside the coop entrance the dirt turned to terrible stinky muck, other areas are nasty too, but not quite so bad. As it is now, it's a mixture of dirt, mulch, old chicken feed, sand and who knows what else -- and you slide when you step on it. The coop and enclosure are up on a terraced area with bulkhead about 3 feet above my backyard -- I have no idea what lies below it all (probably established about 60 years ago). I'd like to make it a bit firmer up there with better drainage if possible. I was thinking of adding more mulch, sand and perhaps pea gravel but am not sure if this makes sense or not (this is definitely not my area of expertise). Also wondering if a few stepping stones might not help me navigate the area at least, of course the hens will kick up dirt all over the place no matter what's done. I also am wondering if this is something that perhaps should be done when the whole area is dried out and maybe should be dug up a bit and redone starting down at least a few inches. The coop stands next to this area and is fine cuz it was put on top of a floor of concrete blocks -- at least it stays dry inside the coop. If I knew what to do, I could get the proper materials and then give instructions to my handy man to carry it out for me.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    mulch, sand and perhaps pea gravel

    Sand and gravel will help.
    Anything organic will make it worse
    Also, try to build it up so water drains away​
     
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've helped put "crushed fines" down on trails through woods, and they sure are effective and will stay in place longer than sand... just a thought.

    Also, don't assume sand is enough grit to replace ... well, grit. sand is too small to replace real grit. I saw something in a thread that said this was ok, it isn't.
     
  4. NancyDz

    NancyDz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    What is "crushed fines?" and where do you get it? Is it used for dirt driveways also? thanks!


    Nancy
     
  5. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could "crushed fines" be something like DG, decomposed granite? I have that in another area of my yard and once it got settled some years ago, it's been really good, drains well, think they put sand under it.
     
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think you get them from landscape supply type places. The correct name is actually crusher fines, I had it wrong. The thing that makes them more stable is they are more jagged than stone or sand, and they sort of interlock with each other. Once a pile was dumped on an area, we spread them around with rakes and hoes and then took a 'tamper' and pounded them. This tamper was a handle with a flat metal plate on the bottom and we just slammed it down till we didn't feel like it... we only had two of them, and others in the team would stomp the area with their feet. The fines sort of settled in place and became fairly solid but still drained and stayed in place. Very neat stuff. There was no fancy preparation before hand either, this was all just on top of whatever was there.

    I have no idea how expensive they are, but even if you can put -some- down, I bet they'd help stabalize things. I hope others here have more knowledge than I, but now that I think about it, I'm going to look for some around here for the path to my coop, it's getting kinda slick in this rainy fall weather.
     
  7. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a good idea -- I just found them on the website for the local stone and soil company which is closed today (darn), and the product is called Gold (Blue or Grey) Pathway Fine which is "dust to 1/4 inch decomposed granite." Will have to try this solution out soon as possible -- think another storm is coming tomorrow! Will try it with some pavers too so I can at least walk through the muck or on top of it -- thanks for pointing out the DG (or "fine"), PortageGirl!
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    There are actually a lot of things that are worth doing, not just addressing the run surface directly but trying to minimize water input and maximize drainage. I've summarized a buncha tactics that yo ucan use for fixing a muddy run in one of my pages, link below in my .sig.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  9. nnbreeder

    nnbreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fines are what they screen off of clean rock like for concrete use. Crusher-run has both the size of rock needed plus it has the fines too. Both fines and crusher-run will pack like concrete after it gets wet the first time.
     
  10. Malpower

    Malpower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2009
    Kentfield, California
    Thanks, Pat! Just read the muddy run article and it was helpful -- probably have to wait until dry weather to really work on my mucky spots, but am hoping with sand, gravel, maybe some DG and also will look for some wood chips, we might make it through the winter. Fortunately the coop is just fine and on concrete, but the ground outside is another matter -- can't raise it or it would be above the coop and then water would run down in there, but I'm hoping I can find someone who can do a bit of digging, maybe put some gravel and piping down for better drainage or something -- that great big hole you mention sounds like the kind of thing that might help. Thanks for the links and ideas!

    Kerry
     

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