wet chicken run floor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Calm, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Calm

    Calm In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2012
    Our garden had a chicken house and run already here when we moved in. Unfortunately they were built on the lowest part of the garden. Our chicken run is on clay soil and in rainy weather it is VERY muddy. The outside of the run is also very wet and muddy and the water drains into the run. We have considered using sand or wood chips or dirt in the run, but although these things would help initially we would still have the problem of water draining into the run from outside. We are now thinking of digging a soak away at the lowest point outside the run and filling it with pea shingle. Or we will have to raise the floor of the run with hard concrete. Has anyone got any other ideas? Thank you. Lucy
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    First read this article.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    With the coop and run in the low spot where water drains to instead of away from, you have a challenge in front of you. There are two general ways to attack this problem.

    Try to keep as much water out as possible. Maybe roof the run and slope roofs or use gutters to get the water away. That probably won’t help you a lot. Can you use berms or swales to divert rainwater away from that area? Building the area up higher so water doesn’t run in can also work. I installed a swale and put a few inches of clay dirt in my coop to build it up to keep water out. I don’t know how big your run is. Concrete sounds a bit dramatic, but it could work.

    Drain the water out once it gets in. I don’t know what your “soak” would look like but I assume it is what I’d call a French drain. If you have an area to drain the water to, that would work great. It could help with the muddy area around the run also. Working with berms and swales to divert rainwater runoff and using a soak are probably your best long term solutions, not sure though because I am not familiar with the lay of your land.

    Filling the run with sand is a great idea, but there are a few complications. Sand will drain really great as long as it is high enough to have a place to drain to but over time it will work is way down into the clay underneath so you will need to add more sand as required. The chickens will scratch in it, scratching some outside the run which leads to adding sand. Sand can wash out if you get a heavy rain, so it can wind up level with your surroundings, not raised above so it can drain. A way to help with that is to put a barrier around the bottom of your run to contain the sand to keep it from washing out and reduce how much they scratch out. Pat talks about how you can put a layer of gravel down first to reduce how fast the sand works its way into the clay.

    Good luck with this. You can really have success with this problem but with a really big run it can really be challenging.
  3. tatswell

    tatswell Chirping

    Jul 20, 2013
    Southern New England
    I too am having the same concerns. Great input from Ridgerunner. In my first coop I used sand and very tiny gravel (soft/rounded) from the stream that runs through my yard, that worked well, but it was also on flat ground.
    But I have just yesterday begun to construct the new duck coop- on an area where one of my gardens were, and on a hill- which means rain draining into the coop/run on already soft garden soil. Building a swale sounds like a good idea. Although my layout is; garden, coop, garden- on a hill.
    So the rain from the top garden will drain into the coop/run, from the run, to the lower garden- which is great fertilizer for the lower garden.
    Unsure how to construct a swale with my layout- don't want too much pressure pushing on the retaining wall of the top garden; Here is a visual-


    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
  4. Domd28

    Domd28 In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2013
    Cabot, AR
    I had the same issues. I found an appropriate size tarp did the trick for me. I can open (pull it back) when it's nice out. It keeps the girls and their food dry. My coop is higher than the run so it has a slope to it for run off. As for the low land, @Ridgerunner maybe weed mat or something of the sort, down before the gravel and sand box it in like a sand box?

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