Swampy Run Conditions. Help! =(


9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
Hi Everyone,

I live in Northern Virginia where we have had something close to four feet of snow accumulate in the last three months. It is all beginning to melt away, seeping into the earth and turning my backyard into a spongy, mucky swampland. My three hens occupy an Eglu and pools of water are accumulating in the run. It's a nasty mess. I've tried putting straw down and mulch, but this is not working. I'm considering building a raised bed for the entire Eglu contraption to elevate the ladies above ground level. My idea is to fill the bottom with gravel for drainage, lay mesh wire on top so the hens can't scratch up the gravel, and lay straw on top of that. Would this work? What have you done to correct spongy ground conditions? I'm sure it will just get worse when the spring rain starts. My father is concerned that building a raised bed would prevent the hens from scratching up bugs as they love to do, but I'm thinking the sanitary conditions of them romping around in a swamp and drinking the pooling water far outway his concerns... Thoughts appreciated. Thanks!


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
See the "fix a muddy run" link in my .sig below for discussion of the general issue.

In your particular case, I would suggest doing pretty much as you suggest but if you are going to put wire mesh on the floor at all, put it UNDER the gravel not on top, and consider whether you really want to use straw at all (you can but it will need periodic replacement when it gets nasty). That way, the mesh will not prevent the chickens from happily scratching and digging. You may periodically have to top up the gravel but Oh Well.

Do realize though that for much of the country there just IS a time in late winter when the ground is still frozen but the snow and poo are not, and you just DO get puddling and yuck. It does not normally last very long, but you can throw down extra straw (to remove as soon as the thaw is over) to keep the birds up out of the worst of it.

Good luck, have fun,



11 Years
Mar 21, 2008
Centre Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada
Oh, do I hear you! We're in the middle of a massive rain event with associated flooding, and everyone is gasping about it. We're on a hill, so better off than most and our run is roofed. ( sounds of the Hallelujah chorus)

I'd like to add a further suggestion. Would it be possible to place your Eglu in a roofed run, once you have things sorted?

Not only would it give you shade for the summer heat, but your girls would have a drier run space for the long haul.

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