Solutions for a Muddy Area?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Enchanted Sunrise Farms, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    36
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    This seemed like the most appropriate space to post this, although the area in question is not inside a run, it's outside of our coops and runs. Most all of our pens are roofed (just a little more work to be done) and that will solve the slip and fall problems inside the runs. The walkway areas off our patio and around the pens have been devoid of grass, since we let our birds roam there on occasion, and now the ducks are there a lot of the time. Now that it is getting rainy, that muddy area is super slippery.

    Last year i tossed down hay and that worked for a spell then it would start to decompose and it would get dangerous. My husband suggested pavers, but it would take a lot of pavers and i'm not sure i want to turn that into a completely paved in area. Thought i would ask what others use in areas such as this. Is there something you've found that works better than others? Pine needles? Leaves? Pebbles? (Although i'm not big on adding rocks to our yard.) i don't know, i'm a bit stumped and was hoping for some good ideas. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    107
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    We don't use a run, but instead a shared pasture of livestock and chickens, and, well, it's Washington here. . . It rains a LOT. So, we have a LOT of muck.

    Honestly our solution is hay and/or gravel. Hay especially works pretty well, and for us, it will be gone by the time things dry up. We just sort of pile it on through the days. . . Not really on purpose either at first. We wanted to feed the Yak outside the barn, but he eventually loved spreading it out to use as a dry bed. So, now, we use our extra hay to throw out every once in a while to sponge up the moisture.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  3. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    I got some pea gravel for free on Craigslist so I put it down in my run hoping it would take care of the muddy mess. It has worked great and is super easy to clean. I put down about 3" in a run that had already started getting really muddy and it has totally taken care of the problem. As far as cleaning, most of the poop gets washed down by the rain, the rest I spray with the hose and then rake it. Takes less than 10 minutes once a week.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    456
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    93
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Anything organic (mulch, pine needles, hay, woodchips, whatever) will work for a while but get skanky and stinky in time and if left there will also worsen your mud problem, so unless you are in a very dry site/climate (which evidently you aren't) you have to plan on removing and replacing all that stuff whenever it needs it. Which can be very ahrd work and if it needs to be done in wet season also gets quite stenchy at times. It is a reasonable temporary 'band aid' solution to a significant problem that needs to be addressed, though.

    Rocks, gravel, sand, that sort of thing will be longer-lasting and less trouble-prone.

    If all you want is a slip-free path *for yourself* thru the area, you might consider making a path of raised pavers or stepping-stones. You want them raised a bit proud of the ground so that the mud won't consume them too fast and to minimize how slippery their surface gets. Mind, they will still get some poo on them. But it won't be as slick a surface as the ground in general. In wintertime when it's icy you can toss a handfull of gravel on each one for traction.

    Another possibility would be to make a path of those special paver type blocks designed for use on driveways, that have holes in them for water to drain through (usually in an attractive pattern). I have no idea what they're officially called. But if you could get enough of them to make a pathway for yourself, it would be less prone to getting yucky than regular pavers or steppingstones.

    Also I don't know if you've done everything possible to divert water FROM that area, but if you can do more (install gutters on run roofs, put extenders on downspouts so the water dumps elsewhere, etc) it might be worthwhile.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    36
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    Thanks for all the great replies and suggestions! Pat, read your Big Ol' Mud page and it sounds like the best long term solution would be the sand and pea gravel, once it dries out, which i'm not sure is going to happen for a while now. [​IMG]

    In desperation i raked up some leaves and pine needles to throw in the duck pen so i wouldn't kill myself filling their pool this morning. And i think i have to buy a bale of straw for the turkey pen so they have something other than mud to walk on until i can get my handy-dude to put up some roofing in the run.

    Pat, i think i know what you mean by those driveway pavers. i do have some pavers sitting out in our driveway that i scored on craigslist several months back. We can create as much of a pathway as possible with what we have there.

    We do have gutters that come off our patio roof and that dumps into that area (and floods one of the pens). i'm concerned if we divert in at ground level around that pen i will be tripping over it on a daily basis. i wonder if i have the skills to cut the pipe and divert it up taller and around the top of that one pen. Our entire yard slopes downward from the house and the chicken pens, so that's a good thing.

    This wet weather seemed to come upon us pretty quickly. i kept thinking i had more time to get ready for winter. [​IMG]
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    93
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Well there ya go, that's a large part of your problem [​IMG]

    i'm concerned if we divert in at ground level around that pen i will be tripping over it on a daily basis. i wonder if i have the skills to cut the pipe and divert it up taller and around the top of that one pen.

    I'm sure you have the skills, it isn't hard;

    but on the other hand if you don't mind a slightly redneck-looking solution (really it doesn't look THAT bad though IMHO) detach the downspout at the top, or saw it off about a foot below the gutter, and get you some NONperforated black plastic corrugated drainage pipe. It's like, I dunno, maybe 5-6" in diameter? Hardware stores and lumberyards have it. Use that as a substitute downspout (to attach the top, I usually just drill a hole or two near the top of the drainage pipe and use some baler wire to lash it to a screweye inserted in something solid nearby, but you may be able to come up with better arrangements) and then you have this nice long bendy downspout whatever length you want (measure what you'll need so you know how much drainage pipe to buy, it's sold by the foot) so you can run it in curves or angles or whatever, and have a long enough piece to let the water out far away from the problem area.

    Pat​
     
  8. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    36
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    That's a great idea! i wasn't sure about me handling actual rain gutter material, as it's not flexible. But those rumply black pipes i can deal with and bend them however i need. i'm not worried about looking red-neck or trailer trash here. Once it's winter our beautiful chicken coop area turns into chicken shanty-town anyways with the plastic sheeting all over everything. [​IMG] i think we have a couple dry days here so i should be able to get that done before the next rain. Thanks again so much!
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    93
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I've got them all over the place here -- we call them the "elephant nose downspouts" [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I took an informal poll of all my neighbors who have Yaks and they all agreed they are completely unmannerly when dining inside the barn. Well, witness his behaviour OUTside the barn; "spreading it out to use as a dry bed."
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by