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Use of Hay in run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fresheggs4u, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. fresheggs4u

    fresheggs4u Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My run is really muddy due to the 6 inches of rain in January. Can I spread hay in my run with out harming my hens. I have seen posting that say not to feed them hay. I'm game for suggestions. thanks!
     
  2. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    You can put hay down in your run. It wont hurt your chickens. But it will get wet and dirty and be messy to clean up. [​IMG]
     
  3. fresheggs4u

    fresheggs4u Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What would you suggest that i use.
     
  4. emandmikey

    emandmikey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Wake Forest, NC
    I used hay, and after that got all muddied up, I put down pine mulch from the town... it's been sitting out in the yard, and is all full of worms and buggies - they love it when I shovel in a few new piles - I spread it out over the muddy spots, and it's been great!
     
  5. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Like emandmikey said pine mulch would work, or you could put pine shavings down. The mulch would probaly last quite a bit longer than either hay or shavings.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2009
  6. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    SC
    I have been using wheat straw- the feed store sells it for about $4.00 a bale, and a little goes a long way with 12 chickens. Pine straw is a great idea!
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Good-quality coarse bark mulch is probably the best option. Also not the cheapest. Straw is cheap and adequate, though it won't last tremendously long. Put a THICK depth of whatever you use in there and it will work better for longer.

    Basically any organic matter you put in will decompose and ultimately make the mud much much worse if not removed in time. Finer organic matter (hay, shavings) will rot down more swiftly than coarser (wood chips); the finer stuf is more likely to not get removed in time, too.

    DO NOT ADD SAND OR GRAVEL TO AN ALREADY MUDDY RUN. Best case scenario, it helps for a few weeks or months, then disappears without a trace into the mud; usual scenario, it disappears without a trace pretty quickly. Either way you end up wasting all that money and effort with absolutely nothing to show for it (no, having that sand disappear into the mud does NOT change the mud in any discernable way. Illogical but true).

    Sand or gravel are a really good solution for a muddy run, of course, but you MUST put them onto fairly bone-dry ground in order to have them last.

    The other thing to do -- and you can do it now -- is to minimize the amount of water getting into the run to make mud in the first place. Redirect downspouts; install gutters (yes, even on a small coop!); trench around the run to intercept water and lead it elsewhere; consider a roof or (if weather and structure permit) tarp on the run. The less wet goes in, the less wet the run gets [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  8. Orpingtonman

    Orpingtonman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Buy horse bedding. it's pellet form, like laying pellets. It absorbs really good and attracts bug and worms they mine love to chase around. I only clean my runs about every week and a half. With hay it was every 3 days. just a recommendation.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Stall pellets will start to disintegrate and decompose almost instantly -- in an already muddy run they will make the problem worse over time, even if replaced weekly. (the more organic-y your soil gets, the more of a sponge it is) Coarse shavings would be better, tho still have those problems to a significant extent.

    JME,

    Pat
     
  10. TexasVet

    TexasVet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Willis TX
    I really don't recommend hay or straw. I used hay in a muddy run once and it ended up covered in mud. Instead of decomposing, it soured and made the whole run stink to high heaven.

    Kathy in Texas
     

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