Wet straw in the run

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

  1. PhDtoFarm

    PhDtoFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 13, 2013
    Let me start off by saying that I live in the desert, so rain is not usually a problem.

    I have straw lining the run, which has been working great.... up until now. We had a surprise storm that caused the straw to get soaking wet, and now I can't figure out how to get it dried out again. I thought it had been drying okay on its own from getting scratched and moved around by the chickens, but it's still not quite right.

    The straw has now been damp (just barely, but still noticeable) for too long, and I feel terrible about it because I think some of my birds now have favus :( [​IMG]I'd been keeping their feet clean by washing them every few days, but that only goes so far...

    So what should I do with the straw?

    Should I scoop it all out and replace it?
    Should I start using something else in the run instead?
    Should I have a more permanent covering over the run so this doesn't happen again?
  2. Sethseger

    Sethseger New Egg

    Dec 20, 2013
    Most definitely remove & replace.
  3. mummyandchicks

    mummyandchicks Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 22, 2013
    Have you considered sand? I use it in the coop, nest boxes and run. It's easy to clean weekly, doesn't smell and feet are clean. My run is not covered and sits on dirt - we don't get huge amounts of rain in Canberra - when it does rain the run sand is washed. There is a ton of info on BYC - have a look if you are even a bit curious.
  4. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    I'm surprised that things don't dry out fast since you are in a desert area. My run is often wet for a day or two after big rains before things start to dry out. One of the problems with straw is that when it dries out it tends to blow around when it is windy. When is compacted, it tends to stay put and creates a decent run floor provided that the chickens don't dig down through it too much. It is also hard to clean unless you choose to cover with fresh material to build up the ground height or rake it out (I add dry material on top keep the run height up a few inches for drainage). I tend to add fresh dry pine chips/straw/hay to keep things dry after a storm. Here up north, the run can be rock hard for awhile and then a few days of thawing will make the ground wet and mushy! That's when I add pine chips. :)

  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    I use straw and sometimes shavings from the coop in my runs in the winter, we get long, cold, muddy springs and the straw stays in there wet or not, and eventually decomposes on it's own. It is wet, but keeps them up out of the mud. Replacing it would be an exercise in futility, as new straw becomes wet within a day or two. As long as they have a dry coop, they should not have any problems with the hay being wet.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  6. The Gremlin

    The Gremlin New Egg

    Mar 28, 2009
    Hey, question—I've been bringing my pullets (close to adulthood) inside every night in a cat carrier. There's three of them, and they're bantams.

    I keep straw in their carrier, but today it rained. I'm going to change how I do this come tomorrow, but in the meantime, will it do any real harm if I let them sleep in the cat carrier with wet straw overnight?

    This is a fairly short-term question. They're next to me in the carrier right now. Like I said, things will change soon, but I want to make sure a night spent with wet straw isn't going to cause any permanent damage.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    How cold is it? If it's going to chill them than it needs to be removed.
  8. bdjh

    bdjh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2013
    We have straw in our run....it rains....the straw gets soaked.....the chickens scratch it all around and everything gets muddy.....then it dries and everyone is fine. Chickens have been walking around in mud forever....I personally don't think we need to over-think it. Chicks, on the other hand, I'd want to keep dry. Even if you gave them a towel for the night.....

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