outdoor substrate

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by countrygoddess, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 6 hens and enclose their house/yard with electric fencing from Premier 1. It's awesome fencing--has kept the raccoons, foxes, fishers, weasels, dogs, and coyotes out. Last year (2007) I moved the fence around so that they would have fresh grass and it worked okay because they were still young and hadn't reached their full size; they weren't as harsh on the grass as they are now. This year I stopped moving it around because they had torn up the grass so quickly that I had nowhere to move the fence to. So instead, I left it in place and fed them handfuls of grass everyday (it's funny to hold it up over their heads and watch them jump--hee hee!).

    NOW here is the problem: it has been rainy and it has snowed and melted twice already this fall and their yard is FOUL. It's a slurry like I've never seen before. Today I put down a thick layer of straw to cover it, it was so gross. My husband and I talked about it, and I know that in the spring, I'm going to move the fence again, plant new grass, and let the grass grow and fill in for the summer before I let the girls back onto it. But for the rest of the yard--the parts I won't be reseeding--what can I put down that won't turn into a mudpit? Straw doesn't last, sand absorbs too much water, gravel would be too hard on their feet... What can I use?

    Any ideas would be SO welcome!! Thank you!

  2. newchickmom

    newchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    I don't have any other ideas. [​IMG] When my chicken yard gets muddy, I just scatter hay around. I add more as needed.
  3. TillinWithMyPeeps

    TillinWithMyPeeps Waiting for Spring...

    Aug 22, 2008

    You might want to try wood shavings, I have heard that some people have had success with those.

    I personally think I might try sand.
  4. ricky bamboo

    ricky bamboo Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2008
    Roseville, Ontario.
    i have a similar situation in the pen. a slurry is a good word for it. i go to a furniture maker down the road and buy wood shavings for a dollar in stuffed feed bags. spread it around the pen and you are done.
  5. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Sand in my opinion would be best, yes it does get wet but its easy to rake the poop out every other day and add it to a compost. Works great for me. Hay, straw, or pine shavings would be a wet mess if it got rained on and not to mention the potential mold issue. I have sand in my run and all i add to it is DE every week or so and have never had any smelly issues so far [​IMG]
  6. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2008
    Northern NJ
    My run is a slurry too....a smelly muddy mess that will suck your shoes right off. We have had some super heavy downpours and a lot of rain for the last couple weeks. I had leaves thrown in there to keep them out of the mud a little and eventually that helped make a gross sludge.

    Tonight I went in, raked out the old leaves, used a shovel to turn the dirt over a bit. Our area is full of rock so I didnt get very far down into the ground, but just enough to turn and bury the mud. Then I sprinkled in a whole bunch of stall dry and put fresh leaves over that.

    Temporary solution while I pray for the rain to stop.

    I don't know what else to put down out there. [​IMG] I think rain will just wash the sand away. I sure hope the stall dry helps with the smell before hubby starts complaining.
  7. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    You could try tilling it up every so often..... That is if you can get a tiller in there. Soil that is kept loose can drain faster than packed soil. You can mix in a lot of wood shaving as you do to keep it from packing down as fast.
    I use a small shovel to keep mine busted up in the smaller pens.
  8. mamaKate

    mamaKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    Would driveway chat work?
  9. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I've never heard of stall dry. I'm going to look into it--my husband and I wondered if there was such a thing. There are lots of dairy farms around here and we knew that the farmers used something to keep the area just outside the barns--where the cows tend to loiter--from sucking the cows right under. We just didn't know what it would have been.

    As I type this the news is reporting temps dropping into the 30's for tomorrow, so I won't have to deal with this problem too much longer--thank goodness!

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

  10. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Not sure what driveway chat is... I just did a google search for it and didn't come up with anything right off. What is it?

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