What is the best material to put in a muddy run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by flockoffour, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. flockoffour

    flockoffour Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2012
    West Coast
    My run is very muddy right now, we've had a number of storms come through, all of them making the run even more wet and less accesible for my chickens. I wondering what the best material (long lasting, works well, etc.) would be to put in the muddy run that will be able to drain fairly easily and will hopefully not break down too quickly. Also something that is not too expensive.

    Also, I forgot to add at the beginning that the "run" I am talking about is not covered. My chickens have a VEEEERY small run that is covered, but they go nuts if I keep them shut in their immediate run the entire day. I usually leave their coop door open so they have acess to a larger area that is netted in with pvc pipes on the top and sides, so rain still gets in. It is very muddy so I am looking for something to help absorb the water and provide better footing. I use pine shavings in their small covered run.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    A lot of folks use gravel, but I just hate the idea of my chickens walking around on something that hard all the time.
    I, personally, use straw. The chickens LOVE to scratch through the straw and there is no muddy mess.
    Not sure of what is easily accessible to you, but I would find what you have laying around or can get for cheap.
  3. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sand.sand.sand...it is cheap, drains well and they love to dig around in it. You need to spread it about 4" deep to get the best benefits. I'm in Ohio, today mine are scratching around on frozen sand--they are happy chickens.[​IMG]
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I suggest this article. Pat is really good.

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

    My first effort would be to try to keep water out to start with. That's not always easy especially with a run in place. Think berms or swales to divert flowing water. Maybe gutters if the slope of the roof of the coop is causing a problem? Maybe covering part of it? But blowing rainwater is going to get in. It’s really hard when the weather sets in wet.

    The material I’d suggest to help with drainage is sand, especially coarse sand. If you can get a load from a streambed, that would be great. We all have different circumstances but a possible problem with sand is that it can work its way down into the mud, so the problem can come back. Or it may wash away in a storm. You may need to contain it someway. But the chickens will scratch it so it gets mixed or scratched away anyway. It’s hard to find anything that drains better than sand as long as the water has somewhere to drain to.

    I’ve been known to dump a bag of pea gravel at the gate and door into the coop from the run. If you use rock or gravel, I suggest rounded rock, not something sharp. It’s possible (please realize that just because something is possible that it does not necessarily happen each and every time) that they can cut their feet on sharp rock when scratching. If it gets infected, that’s called bumblefoot.

    Some people put straw, hay, wood shavings, things like that in the run and are very happy with it. I don’t because that’s the kind of stuff I mulch my garden with and a purpose of mulch is to keep it from drying out. My run is pretty big too. If you are going to be raking it or maybe regularly replacing it, that might be a solution for you.

    Some people put pallets, lumber, paving stones, things for them to get up out of the mud. There are lots of ways to address this problem, depending on your unique circumstances. When the weather sets in wet, this is a real common problem.
  5. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I found out the hard way that if you don't choose your site well that fixing the problem can be very expensive. I built my hen house on an old concrete foundation and slab, which I thought was good, but didn't pay attention to how the land was around it. Water ran right to the area where it was situated. I had to add drains around the house and gutters to channel water away from the structure. It was expensive and a big headache. but the inside of the house is now dry and the run is partially covered with a roof so they always have an outdoor area that is dry. Location, location, location as they say..........

    We are adding some sand to the run next spring too.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  6. lookyhereboy

    lookyhereboy Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 28, 2012
    Drury, MO
    Agreed. Just got done putting 3 to 4 inches of sand in my coop this morning. The nasty smell was instantly gone of course. We have had an extremely wet late winter and I just couldn't take my chickens being in mud all the time. They all ready are going nuts in it.

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