NOW is the season to mudproof/floodproof your coop and run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by patandchickens, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Having spent last weekend clearing drainage ditches and digging a new one, and thus having had plenty of time out there with shovel in hand contemplating the bunch of "help my coop is flooding" "what do I do about all this mud" posts that winter and early spring will bring, here is a quick public service announcement [​IMG] --

    NOW is the time to do something about it. BEFORE you have problems, and when the ground is still relatively dry.

    Does your coop roof slope towards the run? Install gutters, and lead the downspout output well away from the area to a lower area. Hint: nonperforated black corrugated drainage pipe is a good and cheap 'flexible downspout', whatever length you need.

    Is your run built on clayey soil? If you are contemplating adding sand or gravel to reduce mud, you need to apply it BEFORE the ground gets muddy. (For some it may already be too late til next year [​IMG]). If you put it on dry ground, to a reasonable depth like 4" or more, it will stay pretty well high and dry and work well for a long time. However if you put it onto already muddy ground, it tends to just disappear into the mud surprisingly quickly and you will have wasted all that time and effort and money. Also it is much easier to GET the sand or gravel TO the run when the ground is still firm!

    Is your run in a bit of a low spot, or on the path of water draining down from higher ground, or for any other reason does it have even the SLIGHTEST tendency to get puddle-y? Dig a shallow drainage trench all the way around the coop and run, preferably 2-3 shovels wide (for most people, it does not have to be very deep). Ideally you also want an outlet ditch leading the collected water to a lower spot. If you have abundant energy and want it to look all spiffy, skim the turf off what you dig out, discard the underlying dirt (use it elsewhere, like in garden or compost) and pat the turf back into place so you have a roughly-returfed swale rather than a bare dirt ditch. The grass will fill back in to cover the messy spots.

    Finally, if you suspect you might be in for high water, or even if you don't specifically expect it but just want to be well prepared, stockpile a few pallets (get them free from stores discarding them) so that if worst comes to worst you can stack them in your coop, covered by plywood or old carpeting or even just layers of cardboard, to raise the chickens up above flooding. It is much easier to do this if you have the pallets already around than to wake up on a floody February morning to find your chickens hock-deep in water and say 'gee, I wonder where I could get pallets in the next thirty minutes' [​IMG]

    There, now you can't say you weren't warned <vbg>

    To help you understand my interest in the subject, here is a pic of me clearing an ice-clogged ditch in the backyard last winter during a thaw:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    What an excellent time to post this, Pat, thank you. We incorporated platforms in the run and your article made me smile. I've also heard of folks creating raised stepping stones. As you have said, drainage, drainage, drainage. I shovelled out a mud-filled ditch in fron of the barn door today because tomorrow that Arctic express that's now in Ontario is reaching Nova Scotia!

    Stray warm, stay dry![​IMG]
     
  3. ozzie

    ozzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Man that's a lot of snow. [​IMG]

    Lovely spot you've got there though Pat. I only wish I had that sort of space. [​IMG]

    ozzie
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Hah, catch me at the right moment during thaw season, like when ALL the ditches need 2' of dense icy snow shovelled out and then the ice broken and levered out, and you might could get it real cheap.... [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  5. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    n/a
    To help you understand my interest in the subject, here is a pic of me clearing an ice-clogged ditch in the backyard last winter during a thaw:

    That must have been just LOADS of fun for you out there all alone [​IMG]
     
  6. derby

    derby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have to winder who is taking the picture and NOT helping! [​IMG]
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    To be fair, my DH (behind the camera) was taking care of our two much-too-young-to-be-around-that-much-floodwater kids when he took the picture. (To give you an idea of *how* flooded it is, the area immediately behind and to the left of me, in the pic, is the driveway to the coop building [​IMG])

    Although, even before we had kids, like when I was pregnant with #1, *I* was still the primary and near-sole Ditch Technician. Hmph.

    Fortunately I do like digging and playing with water [​IMG] Altrhough when the kids someday get old enough to help, woo hoo <vbg>


    Pat, who did actually buy the property in springtime and KNEW how wet it could get, er, more or less, probably UNlike the many other short-time owners the place has had over the years [​IMG]
     
  8. mlmadura

    mlmadura Chillin' With My Peeps

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    GEEZ!!!! That pic makes me so appreciate the weather in MISSISSIPPI!!!!
     
  9. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep if you prove you have the skills to be the ditch technician, you'll always *be* the ditch technician![​IMG]

    (We didn't get the snow but it's c-cold.)
     
  10. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiicce LOL.... I'm shivering just looking at that picture! Yeow!

    Another tip... If you have pine trees - stock up on the pine needles now before the snow gets them [​IMG] They work great for putting in the coop pen and help with muddy conditions too!

    I am getting TONS of them from my pine trees [​IMG] which I hated when we first moved here last year (before we got chickens of course) and now...I'm kind of liking those old things - free ground cover for the girls and they love to play and scratch around in it! Keeps their little tootsies from getting all nasty too!
     

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