problems not the coop but the run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SparksNV, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    Got my hens in August - run and coop were fine until winter. Now the angle of the sun is such that the run does not get any sunlight to dry out the gravel. We have had some snow so it melted but the run is not drying out. The ground is not mud but covered with pea gravel and it is staying damp. We have nights that are below freezing and some day time temps between 30-50 degrees. I let the hens out of the run for about 1-2 hours per day.

    However, I have noticed that two of my single comb hens have a bit of frost bite and I think one of them has even lost some tips. I put vaseline on them this afternoon.

    Any suggestions on how to dry out the run or what I should do?

    Here is a photo of the coop and run. Thanks!

  2. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I think that the problem is not enough ventilation if your hen has gotten frostbite on her comb. Other than the vents shown in the picture do you have any other ventilation in your coop?
    The vaseline is so that frost doesn't sit on their comb so be sure to reapply it later in the day when you're locking them up for the night.

    I use straw in the damp part of my run. Even though my run is covered rain still blows in. I replace it when it starts looking dirty (too much poop).

    That's all I can think of right now. Hope I've helped a little.
  3. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    Ventilation in the coop is okay (there are more vents on the other sides) - the ground is very damp and cold - usually frosty in the mornings - The hens come out all day and only go into the coop to lay eggs and to sleep.
  4. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2010
    Jackson, NJ
    is the run underneath the coop or are they free ranging ?
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If they are getting frostbitten in your climate then the ventilation is almost certainly not OK, and it does not look OK in your photo, even with more of those vents on a side not in the photo. It just takes more than that.

    Patandchickens has written excellent pages on both muddy runs and venetilation:
  6. aussiedude248

    aussiedude248 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    Punta Gorda FL
    Quote:IKR I don't where it is???
  7. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    I know the ventilation is good. Yes in the picture I posted you cannot see the back vents and opening.

    The ground is wet, we have cold frosty mornings and the run is not getting any sun - the one place that does feel dry and warm is the coop. I clean the poo out of the coop every day or every other day. When I go out into the run to pick up poo - the ground is damp and cold - it is a noticable change in humidity and coldness from the rest of the backyard. The chickens can go under the coop - it is dry under there or in the coop - but they only do that at night and to lay eggs.

    I live in a high desert climate (very dry) so any changes in humidity is very noticable and I know when things feel cold and damp and I am sure it is the run NOT THE COOP! The wind will blow over the ground and will cool and dampen as it does.

    Is there anything I can do (except move my coop and run) to help with the dampness in the run?

    Sorry to be so insistant on it being the run and not the coop. However, I have it on good authority here on BYC that coop ventilation is good.

    The coop is in a run about 18' x 30' - it is fenced off from the rest of my yard. It is on the north side of my house. It does not get ANY SUN. The chickens are let out once a day into the backyard for about an hour. They are locked up into the coop at night but let out at daybreak into the run. They then have free access to the 18 x 30 run and coop - they can go under the coop to get out of the rain/snow. I do not leave them in the coop 24 hrs/day. The ground is covered with a thin layer of pea gravel some of which has been scratched down to dirt but there is no mud. I have a french drain that runs longways through the run so there is no standing water. I put some straw down to encourage them to come out when there was snow on the ground. The straw is also damp now (there's no snow now) - there isn't alot and I could certainly remove what little there is to help dry out the run. In fact, I think I will do that today.

    Thank you for any help.
  8. empireranch

    empireranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Quote:Could it be something other than frost bite? Have they been squabbling etc.. enough to cause some minor damage to the combs?
  9. SparksNV

    SparksNV Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Spanish Springs, NV
    good question empireranch but no they are not squabbling at all. My hens were all hatched together and raised together and other than an occasional "that was my treat" peck, I have never seen any fighting.

    - in fact the "frost bite" is very small - just the tips of the combs are purplish and it looks like one has lost a couple of tips (no more than a couple of millimeters).
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    We're sorry for being insistent, but before you are sure it's the run, put a humidity meter in the coop and I'll bet it is 60-80% or higher. Sparks probably averages 50% outdoors right?
    The temps there are not low enough to cause frostbite unless they are locked up with high humidity at night.
    The coop would need openings the size of your man door to be able to vent off enough moisture to offset, that in the feces, respiration and the occasional water spillage - unless you don't provide water inside.
    Please if you don't trust us - trust a meter.
    My coop has been as cold as 6 degrees inside - no frostbite and 2 BIG open windows([email protected]'x2') on the east, a continuous ridge vent, large open cupola and a 4' long floor level vent.
    Is your run this cold and wet?
    You can't see it in this picture but below the roof there are two large open windows where the hens sleep.
    8 week old birds live here with those windows wide open all the time and the doors wide open during the day.
    white jersey giant pullet flew up to roost on the snowy shelf
    Jaerhon cockerel enjoying a walk

    my point is chickens all over the world live outdoors with little shelter, cold and wet.
    Unless it's below 0 frostbite is almost always a result of being too closed up at night - not to mention respiratory problems.

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