Outdoor uncovered duck run material

Chelseasducks

In the Brooder
Jul 24, 2021
14
15
26
I live in Michigan with rain/snow in the winter. Our uncovered duck run is a muddy mess. We have clay soil and can't seem to grow grass in their area. I have seen posts recommending sand, pea gravel or wood chips. Which method works best? I have seen pros/cons for both.
 

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
7,370
4,717
416
Tennessee
Pea grave would be the faster draining, sand would drain, and wood chips would become a sodden mess in a hurry. I can let mine free range year around, but if I had to keep them penned I'd use the pea gravel.
 

igorsMistress

Frank and Abbys mom.
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Apr 9, 2013
24,640
131,909
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My Coop
My Coop
The problem with gravel and sand is that bits of poop stay in it and it gets nasty. Wood chips will break down slowly and actually improve your clay soil over time. Wood chips for sure. If the chips are rough and broken and haven’t composted at all, a little straw over the top will give your flock a softer surface to walk on.
 

TwistedTayy

Songster
Apr 30, 2021
207
284
111
Douglasville, GA
I live in Georgia and have horrible clay soil and heavy rain in spring and summer. My ducks (15 welsh harlequin) free range now but for a month they were restricted to their 10x10 run (with kiddie pool inside) when they were little. They also slept outside in their run too (there’s a coop attached but it was so hot they didn’t like it and would be under it when it rained. I used cypress mulch from Home Depot and replenished as needed (don’t think I had to during that month though). It got a little soggy (after 5+ inches of rain even the sand or gravel would get yucky). It worked great and is still going well. I can’t get grass to grow without fencing off. The area. The ducks and geese decimate it.

I recently got a chip drop delivery of hardwood chips and that is lasting even longer and I spread it all over the place because the mulch worked so well.
 

DukesDucks

Crowing
Oct 6, 2019
897
3,108
346
Eastern Ontario, Canada
When I clean my coop, I toss the shavings into the run. They do break down slowly.
I haven't tried leaves yet but will do it tomorrow. I've had snow and freezing temperatures, but I think the ducks will have fun finding hiding bugs.
 

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
7,370
4,717
416
Tennessee
I like the gravel and sand for drainage; possibly some other over the gravel. I've used pine needles in the past as they dry faster. And our yard is filled with pines.
 

416bigbore

Ruffus and Big Boy
Premium Feather Member
Jun 11, 2020
8,582
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NC
I live in Michigan with rain/snow in the winter. Our uncovered duck run is a muddy mess. We have clay soil and can't seem to grow grass in their area. I have seen posts recommending sand, pea gravel or wood chips. Which method works best? I have seen pros/cons for both.
Treat 01.jpg

Hello, we had the same problem last year with all the above normal precipitation. We had a crazy muddy mess, I went to Lowes and bought 3- 6x8 out door rugs for something like $20.00 each at the time. This helped keep our mixed flock out of all the mud until things dried up and stated to turn green.

IMO, anything you put on the ground like leaves and or wood chips etc. will only insulate the original ground and take longer for it to dry out. With those outdoor rugs, just rinse them off and roll them up after they have dried and you are ready for your next muddy mess. Best of luck. :)
 

416bigbore

Ruffus and Big Boy
Premium Feather Member
Jun 11, 2020
8,582
72,872
1,136
NC
Love the photo! That is a great idea. I wonder if artificial grass would work too.
The thing I discovered with artificial grass was this, those green little fibers like to easily come off. I didn't think it would be very healthy for our ducks and chickens to eat.

That indoor outdoor rug is very well made with no fiber material that wants to rub off with use. Best of luck. :)
 
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