PNW chicken owners and other rainy areas. Run muddy, some questions.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AllisonK, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. AllisonK

    AllisonK Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2008
    Okay really was not sure where to put this, has some health questions as well as copp/run issues.

    I live in the PNW, specifically SW WA, and well its RAINY! Rainy season has started and the outdoor run is just soaked. When it just rains straight down there is a large area that is dry outside but today and yesterday it has been raining sideways and the whole run is soaked. We made the mistake of a flat roof (duh what were we thinking) its hardware cloth with a trap over it. We plan to redo the tarp with a bigger one and make it sloped to let rain run off.

    My questions:

    Is it bad for the run to be wet?

    Is it bad for the chickens health (mainly their feet) to be wet? I noticed one was covered in mud earlier today.

    What have you done to weatherproof your outdoor run when it rains, and I mean RAINS!

    Can I let them out to free range when its raining? We usually let them out for several hours in the afternoon and they are waiting for us at the door and I feel bad keeping them in. We did let them out the other day and they did not seem to mind. Though the Polish had a really wet head.

    Thanks,
    Allison
     
  2. aiwetir

    aiwetir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2008
    portland, or
    i feel for you, my run has the taller part of roof south facing, it's pretty wet today, but i have some dry areas for them, i'm going to add about 32 sqft to the run soon and hopefully the way the roof is tilted should give them more dry areas.

    i don't have any answers for you though, sorry.
     
  3. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    You can put some gravel in the run as base and then cover the gravel with smaller pea gravels and you want see mud ever again.

    I think you need at least 4" of base and 2" topped with pea gravel.
     
  4. AllisonK

    AllisonK Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2008
    Quote:How do you clean out the run if its covered in gravel? We usually just rake it out when needed but raking would just rake the gravel.
     
  5. Fowl-Language

    Fowl-Language Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Longview, WA
    Mine insist on free-ranging even on days like today (I'm in Longview). They stand under a shrub or the overhang of the roof if they need a break, or go back into their coop. Mine don't actually spend much time in their run.
     
  6. namato8

    namato8 New Egg

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    Aug 4, 2008
    I'm sooo glad someone else is fretting about all this rain. I live in Castle Rock and my girls, 4 1/2 month old RIRs,Red Stars,Black Stars, are really wet. I have a tarp over part of their run but it has been real bad today. They have their dry house of course but they don't seem to want to be in during the day at all. It's been relatively warm too. I don't let them loose at all. We have a non poultry tested Rottweiler and many varmits as we live outside the city on large parcel. We have had problems getting tarp to not hold water so I don't really see how I can tarp anymore. We have straw on ground to cover clay without which it would be a mud hole not that the wet straw is much better but at least they and I stay on top instead of sinking. I am also concerned about the mold that is going to become a problem especially since as soon as it gets a bit drier they will begin to turn up the wet straw. I have 14 and I'm already getting 4 eggs nearly every day so I guess they are doing okay
     
  7. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    In the PNW the rain means gravel disappears amazingly fast into the muck. I've put 4 large wheelbarrow loads into mine just this fall and you'd be hard pressed to find any of it.

    I made a temporary tarp covered area in part of their run so they can get out of the rain withough having to hang out in their coop. I throw their scratch in there and any other treats I find. Right now there's two small bales of straw that got wet at the feedstore and they gave me for free. I cut the strings so they can merrily kick straw all over.

    I rake all my leaves into the run and whatever garden waste. The more organic matter, the last sucking gooey mud. It seems to be working.

    So far they've survived all the mud and muck without any problems. So long as they have a warm draft free place to sleep, they'll be fine.
     
  8. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    Namato8, throw as many leaves into the run as you can. They help break up the solid slop of wet straw. It will all turn into mulch eventually especially with your girls scratching it up and pooping in it.
     
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    In Everett... and well, the tractor part of their tractors are covered by tarps all at about 45 degree angle, and they free range the rest of the time. When it's really bad, they run at full speed to leave their coops and hide under cars... or strategically figure out where to potty all over the covered porch so we have to step in a pile. The ground is damp in their tractors since well, the ground gets saturated and I move the tractor to more wet ground.

    Furthermore, they do get muddy, since they do run though the rain and dig through the mud... and even have the nerve to take a dust bath under a old building and walk out into the wet while still covered in dirt. [​IMG] I've learned there is no such thing as a white leghorn out here. Only dirt colored ones.

    Then, to add insult to injury to trying to keep them clean and happy, they all insist on sleeping outside the hutches while wet.

    I do have hay and straw in their runs, and it does mold, but since it gets so wet and compact... I want to say it falls apart and decomposes before mold sets in. It's all tilled under by spring for the garden anyways.

    They've been doing fine like this over the past decade in the PNW, so they are pretty tough.
     
  10. namato8

    namato8 New Egg

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Oh great idea have tons of big leaf maple leaves all over and it's free I have been buying straw. Thanks a lot and being wet doesn't bother them huh?
     

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