Runs destined to become muddy?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by frog522, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. frog522

    frog522 In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Hi All, first time poster here. I discovered this forum two months back...the community here is great! I have my chicken run made and I am currently about to start on my coop. I read that some people have had issues with putting chicken runs over grass (chickens love grass?) and eventually the grass gets picked and becomes very muddy (chickens dislike being muddy?).

    The area where I will have my chickens is dry compacted dirt with an area of 24 sq. feet for two hens. I am wondering if mud will be an issue. It is dry now but once they've gotten a chance to do their business (walk around, pick the ground, give the ground "gifts...") will the ground become muddy?

    I am wondering if I will need to put down sand or whether dry dirt will be fine? Thanks for your input!
  2. Mrs. Turbo

    Mrs. Turbo Songster

    Jan 26, 2009
    we buy dump loads of wood chips or pebble rock to add to our runs......we tried the sand, but it didn't work for us.
  3. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    With all the rain we've had, I'm having this problem too. I was thinking of getting a few backs of topsoil to build up the low areas.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers


    Because it's late in the afternoon and I'm feeling peckish, perhaps I don't understand your "will the ground become muddy?" question. It will definitely become muddy when it rains, but otherwise it will just stay dry compacted dirt. Chickens don't make it muddy. Rain does, though. Chickens make it bare nekkid ground. Yes, chickens LOVE grass. Chickens, on the other hand, don't mind mud all that much. They LOVE puddles. They LOVE bugs and worms that come up - or wander in - when it rains.

    Chicken runs are destined to become nekkid ground unless you put something like sand, wood chips, pea gravel, etc. all over it. Those additives help a great deal to alleviate mud and/or drainage problems when/if it rains.

    But chicken "gifts," multiple footsteps and pecking do not a muddy run make. That's the rain's fault.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  5. frog522

    frog522 In the Brooder

    Jun 16, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for the replies.

    I somehow had the wrong idea that chickens somehow make runs muddy. What I think I might do, is just have a dirt run and see how it goes the first time it rains. Maybe afterward, if needed I'll experiment with sand. Issue solved! For now...

    Hmm...I have been wondering something else, if a run isn't covered on a rainy day, will chickens still hang out in the run while it's raining or will they stay in the coop on their own? I am considering adding a top cover (for drainage) to half of the run and I'm not sure if I should put a top on the whole run.

    What do you guys think?
  6. molly d

    molly d Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    lawrence, ks
    Quote:I would recommend adding a top. It will provide them with shade, and help keep predators out. I almost didn't put a top on my run, but changed my mind and am SO glad I did. Now it only gets muddy around the edges when it rains, and the girls have shade for most of the day.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If you don't want to put the top over the whole run, just set up a shade porch. I have a black box that used to go in a pickup. I laid it on the side, and propped up the doors. Provides a wind break in the winter, and a shady spot in the summer.

    If it is hot, they do need a bit of shade. And a wind break in the cold, then they will spend most of the day outdoors, which is healthier, I think.
    However, mine do not mind getting rained on, but they did not like walking on snow!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:They DO, in that they devegetate the run so that it is bare earth (and bare *compacted* earth, that does not absorb moisture well).

    You might take a look at my "muddy run" page, link in .sig below, for discussion of prevention.

    Good luck, have fun,


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