Run is a Smelly, Muddy Mess

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Cherlyn, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Alconbury, England
    I seem to have gotten in over my head, and am seeking to do massive damage control at this point. I have eight chickens and two ducks, in an area about 20 feet by 14 feet. Half of that area is gravel and half is grass. Well, it WAS grass. The grass is entirely gone, and due to all the rain, it is just mud and droppings. The gravel side is even getting muddy and wet, with puddles.

    How on earth do I clean up? Do I get rid of some chickens, or the ducks? Can I just lay some new grass, or put lawn grower in there?

    We are renting, and our landlords are good people, but I am not sure they would be thrilled about the state of this area right now. I need to get it back to looking nice. Is that possible with all of these animals? If it helps, I am getting rid of four of the chickens. I can take the ducks to the village pond, where there are about fifty other ducks, if need be. I would rather not, but ducks are so messy that I might need to.

    ~Cherlyn
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  2. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Alconbury, England
    Read another post - looks like sand might be the way to go!

    ~Cherlyn
     
  3. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    Sand is a great way to go. I've had rain here in New England for 4-5 days now. The run stays puddle free. I do have the problem of odor after rain but only after breaking the surface pack. Once it airs for a day without rain it's fine. Go deep if you can, although 20x14 will take a lot of sand. My run is 12x16 and I went 6 inches deep. The key with the sand is keeping it loose. Try a coarse mix that has some small gravel or stone mixed in.

    Bill
     
  4. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Alconbury, England
    I think I will try this, if I can find some coarse sand. But when we leave this place in a few years, we need to leave it as we found it - without sand and with grass. [​IMG]

    ~Cherlyn
     
  5. JimWWhite

    JimWWhite Chillin' With My Peeps

    In my 18'x21' run I put down a layer of layer of Crush 'n Run of about an inch or so. That's a rough mix of sand and gravel. Then I layed down three inches of creek sand. I got the Crush 'n Run from my neighbor for free. The creek sand came from my local landscaping yard for about $120 delivered. That was five yards or about 6 tons. We've had it in our run all summer and fall and my gals have nice dry feet. Of course it helps they're under a metal carport too. Rain still comes in at an angle but the sand drains quickly and doesn't get all muddy. We had the remanants of Ida blow through two weeks ago and the gals were dry and happy. It's been a wet fall here but our run seems to stay dry enough. Next spring we'll remove maybe a third of the sand and put it in the garden and replace it with fresh sand. Every few days I go out with my hoe and kind of till the sand up a bit to turn it up and to mix the poop in. It also turns up earthworms which my gals are crazy for. Now when they see me coming with my hoe they fight over who gets in line first. The sand is really easy to work this way and it keeps the place clean and pretty much smell free.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:There is absolutely no way to achieve this except to wait til you are about to leave, run a tiller over the area (to enable future grass growth) and lay sod. It is not a huge area so this should not be too awful expensive. But sod, AFTER the poultries are moved out, is your ONLY option, sorry.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    So far I've TWICE killed a GOOD portion of my yard with grow out pens... right now, there is one boy still living in the mud puddle left by his clutch mates... I'm moving him this week to the winter home but thats another story. Once we move him, and leave the area free of chickens for a few weeks, it'll grow back on it's own. I'm going to take advantage of it this year and seed it with clover & alfalfa, cover it in hay and walk away.

    There is NO WAY to keep it from dying if they are on it... they will eat it and smush whatever they haven't eaten.

    I'm a big fan of using sand, although I don't like sand in uncovered runs myself. So if I have to use the space, I just pile on the hay over the mud. Every so often, we remove it all to a garden when it's going to be sunny and let everything dry out. Then replace with more straw as needed.

    So use the heck out of the space, maybe try to find a second location to rotate them to for half the year, then a year before you plan on leaving, start getting that area ready.. remove any sand, prep the ground, maybe get a soil test, plant some seed and wait for the lush green to grow. It'll be well fertilized for sure.
     
  8. cackilacky

    cackilacky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2009
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