Pen got very wet. What to do now?


13 Years
Apr 21, 2009
My chicken pen is next to my garden. I was watering the garden yesterday and inadvertantly let the sprinkler spray on to the chicken pen. My pen is a dirt floor and was pretty clean or so I thought. My girls went out to feed, water and collect the eggs to find the pen a disgusting mush of a mess. I am mortified at the smell and mess. The eggs that were laid in the laying boxes are so dirty. You can't walk in the pen without sinking about 4 inches into the manure. I feel so sorry for my poor chickens. Does anyone have any advice for me? Should I just let it "dry-out"? We live in La. so it's about 100 degrees here. I'm just now sure how long it would take. Or, should I do something like spread out a bale of hay in the pen? How can this unsanitary pen affect my chickens? The eggs?

Thank you so much for any advice you might have.
I wouldn't recommend straw or hay due to the fact that it more than likely will mold and cause more problems than help.

Possibly you could put down some sand?? Is it possible to relocate them to another side of the pen while that dries out? You could always lay down pallets which are super cheap (free usuallly if you just ask) and they can walk on those til the ground dries out....I really can't think of any other suggestions, but I hope these can give you some ideas....
I was having trouble with mud in my chicken pen this winter. I bought clean playbox sand and spread it all over the pen. Sand soaks up moisture and will help dry out the ground. Chicken droppings also rake up easier in sand so my pens stay cleaner. GOOD LUCK!
I'm a beginner, so not an expert. I am over in southern Mississippi, where it is hotter than H-E-L-L; so I can sympathize on the temperature. I don't know how large your pen is, but, I am thinking the best thing to do might be to generously apply DE (diatomaceous earth), and then spread a layer of straw over the mud. You would probably need to do this at least once a day. The straw will get pushed down into the mud. But, it should eventually dry up. Also, can you run a fan out there during the day. The most important thing, I would think, is that they have a clean & dry place to sleep (nest boxes and roosts). Adding the DE and a layer of straw to the mud each day should get it dried out pretty quickly. However, this is good opportunity to think about what will happen in heavy rainstorms / tropical storms, etc.

I am curious to read suggestions here, b/c I have geese, ducks, chickens, and turkeys; and the ducks and chickens LOVE to hang out in the crawl space UNDER the tack room and workshop of our little horse building. They have other shady areas, but it must be extra comfortable under there
The problem is that I am sure they are pooping under there, so I am going to have to figure out how to clean it out. I am planning to use a duster to get DE under there and then try to rake it out as best I can. The easiest thing would be a blower to blow it out the opposite side, but I am not sure I can get all of the birds out of there for long enough to do that.
Thank you for the advice. I will try to get some tomorrow. It's so gross. I had been putting hay down in the past when it was dry and after doing some research, I think that has contributed to making it mushier. I also have some pine shaving bedding. Thought about putting that down, too. Not sure, though. I will definitely go get some sand tomorrow, though.

You all are such a blessing for responding.
Where does one find DE? My husband suggested my putting a fan out there but, I won't be home tomorrow and I thought it wouldn't be safe to leave with a fan running all day.
I could put the fan on while I'm there, though.
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I wouldn't do hay. Its gets NASTY when it's wet. You could get a couple bags of sand and spread some in there....I did that with mine and was amazed at how much moisture it sucks up quickly. There is also "Stall dry" you can sprinkle too. at least with the heat works in your favor and will help dry it up also. a little sand would be my suggestion
One question, did you have this problem over the winter when it did nothing but rain?? If not I would just let it dry out and trust me with this heat it won't take long and it won't hurt them either. Just clean off the eggs. If you had this problem during the winter time the best thing to do is build it up with dirt first. They will pack it down pretty good and the next time it rains you can figure out where your low spots are and keep fixing it till you no longer have any mud puddles. We had this same problem during the winter and it was really gross but I guarantee you are not the only one that battles the mud in La.

Good luck to you:)


ETA: If you do go with sand you need lots of it. I tried buying a few bags and putting it in the really low spots and the next day you couldn't even tell it was ever there.
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Only use Diatomacous Earth that is food grade bought at your local feed store. Regular DE used for pool filters is toxic!! Food grade DE is used for dusting your chicken house for lice in dry conditions only. I put it in my chickens feed as a natural wormer. It will become a slimmy mess when wet! I suggest you go with the sand.

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