suggestions for a muddy run??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sunket77, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. sunket77

    sunket77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    Texas Hill Country!
    I am having real trouble with a couple of my runs and MUD! One is permanent and can't be moved, the other is a 9x7 dog run which has a small coop inside it. We have moved it a couple of times when it gets real bad but we have hit a really rainy season.....that is.... after almost 3 years of virtually no rain! Now I am expecting and can't help with moving the run and coop which can be tricky without enough people. It's our bantam run and it's just not good conditions for my poor chickens to be in, not to mention the smell! (with my current morning sickness I can't even go in the backyard!) We need to figure out a fix for it before my birds get sick. [​IMG] My other issue run is my big girl run with my standard laying flock, I find that letting them out (weather permiting) to free range a couple of days helps it to dry up faster. But I think the only option would be to bring in some sand since we can't move it. Cost is also an issue. suggestions appreciated!!!
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    My suggestion was sand, which you already mentioned. I would also keep all hay/grass/greens outta there and occasionally dust with DE.

    Even in the desert, I have similar issues. After rain storms I use a spade shovel to till the coop and run. It dries out the dirt and kills fly larva. I also bring in a load of sand once a year, and let the chickens kick it around for me.
  3. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    How about straw? It's used for erosion control...

    Problem is, it's not just mud, it's chicken droppings, [​IMG] and they will eventually cover up whatever you put in there if you don't mix it around. It rains a lot here in the winter and my run gets pretty muddy looking, but if I use a garden fork and turn it over, there's still straw underneath. Eventually it goes in the compost or on garden beds and I put in fresh straw.

    I get compressed bales and put out the flakes like floor tilesand let the chickens scratch it around.

    Good luck.
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    sand and 3/4" round rock
  5. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's an idea -- but it's a bit involved.

    Build a footing around the perimeter of the run about a foot high, using a fine mesh with holes much smaller than pea gravel. Then lay landscape fabric across the floor of the entire run, flaring up at the edges. Put a few inches of pea gravel down. Level it out, then put another piece of landscape fabric over the pea gravel. Tack it to the footing on the outside of the run to keep it in place (think of it as batting a quilt, with the stuffing being pea gravel). Then throw in a few inches of straw or shavings, but not higher than the top edge of the footing around the perimeter (so the bedding doesn't spill out through the wire and leave a ring around the pen).

    What you have now is a "high and dry" run. The chickens can scratch around through the bedding, and their poop can collect in it. Whenever it rains, the water will go right through like a sieve, and since the inside of the run is higher than the ground outside the run, there's no way puddles can form. Replace the bedding and compost it when it gets icky (it won't compost much in the run since water will keep running through it rather than it staying moist).

    If pea gravel is too expensive (I honestly don't know, I'm just giving you a solution that I'm visualizing, not something I've tried myself), you can use sand, but you'll have to find some other material for the footing around the perimeter that is permeable to water but will hold in the sand. Perhaps you can just run a vertical strip of landscape fabric around the inside...hmmmm.......
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  6. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you want just a short-term fix, sand would be easiest.

    I prefer long-range fixes, myself. It's way more bother, but then the problem is fixed, maybe for good.

    The previous poster has a terrific and very creative solution. I would give that careful consideration. The only problem I see that you might have with the landscape cloth is the chickens shredding it when they're digging dirt-bathing holes and just scratching and digging like they love to do.

    My solution is to install a roof over your run. A covered run is so much safer, the chickens are more secure and comfortable, and the run stays drier and more hygienic.

    To alleviate any further water intrusion, I would trench around the run, diverting any run-off during rain.
  7. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    THANKS! It's sometimes a little rough for me, being as I am poultry-less and living vicariously through all of you, so I try to visualize things using my imagination. The limit to that is the input I enter, so I don't know how deep the birds would dig. I didn't think of the scratching component -- how deep would the litter have to be to prevent the chickens from reaching the landscape fabric? At first I was thinking just a few inches, but perhaps you'd need more.
  8. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chickens would dig to China, and I believe they really think they can get there.
  9. LovinChicknFarmn

    LovinChicknFarmn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Carolina
    For a quick fix we throw in a pile of leaves or pine straw from the yard or you could use hay. It at least soaks it up enough so it's not gross and slippery for a day or two. Then we go in and clean out the run really well once the rain has let up and the ground has dried a little.
  10. ntink17

    ntink17 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2011
    limestone works too, can rake it easily to clean up.

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