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Run is one big mud puddle. Is this dangerous to the hens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kristenm1975, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I have no idea what happens to the piles and piles of straw that goes into my chicken's run, but it's all gone now and the rain we've had lately has turned it into a huge sloppy puddle. I see the hens drinking the puddles and I'm worried about them getting sick from it. After all, they are basically drinking their own poo when they do that.

    The obvious solution would be to buy more straw and possibly cover the run but the cash is short and the run is long so I'm trying to determine how big of a risk this is to them in reality. Being in the Pacific Northwest, this kind of weather is going to persist for the next 4 or 5 months, so I'd rather a more long-lasting solution. Opinions?


  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Could you bring in a load of sand? Great for chicken dusting, drainage, and easy to rake out all the droppings. Also it would raise the grade so it is not standing water. Sand is no that expensive, especially if you can pick it up yourself (utility railer), and worh the invesment as opposed to straw that would just biodegrade.
  3. bestponymilo

    bestponymilo Songster

    Jan 31, 2007
    I'd go for the sand too. Straw just breaks down and turns into more mud [​IMG]
  4. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Sand made the biggest difference in my run. Can't recommend it highly enough. Good luck!
  5. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the advice. I'll research sand in my part of the world. How much does it usually cost, just as a guideline so I don't get fleeced.
  6. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Can't give you small amounts, but we got two huge dump truck loads for abou $250 delivered. I'm sure a cubic yard would probably couldn't possibly be more than $50.
    Call up aggregate companies in your area.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If it's already muddy you might seriously consider trying to get a load of some coarse bark or hogfuel or that sort of thing to get you by until spring.

    Main reason being, gravel or sand will tend to just vanish into mud -- it really by far works best and lasts longest when put onto DRY ground. Secondly you may have trouble getting it in there if it's that muddy (a wheelbarrow of sand or gravel, even half full, is heavy); and thirdly you are almost certainly not gonna find a free source.

    Whereas, it is *possible* (not likely, but possible) that you may scare up someone who'd give you half a load of chipped-up trees or something like that. THe only thing about an organic amendment like that is that it'll decay and eventually make the mud worse, so in spring you will HAVE TO rake the remainders out and replace with a better footing like sand or sand/gravel mix.

    Good luck,


  8. freshegg

    freshegg Songster

    May 15, 2008
    the guy at the feed store told me he uses profield field conditioner for his muddy run so I bought a 50lb bag for 18 bucks used some and it dryed the mud quick. its what they use to dry ball fields quickly. of course its been a few weeks and I have to spread some more tommorow.
  9. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    We have a wood stove and cut up our own firewood. We saw up the wood in the driveway, and then we rake up all the wood chips (and any small bits of wood and bark) and save them.

    When our duck run was becoming one huge mud puddle (and the smell wasn't very pleasant either) we put the wood chips down in the run. It keeps it nice and dry unless there's a real nasty downpour - then we have to put another layer of wood chips down.
  10. ChickenTender63

    ChickenTender63 Songster

    Sep 28, 2008
    Alamance, NC
    Sand is cheap, usually around $8.00 per ton. It is the trucking part that gets expensive and runs your bill up. If you had a trailer or pickup to go to a sand pit, you would come out very cheap, but like Pat said, it will be a lot of work getting it in there cause it is heavy.

    Hope yo ufind a good solution!


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