What to do about extremely muddy run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dragonfly Ranch, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Dragonfly Ranch

    Dragonfly Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Happy Valley, CA
    This is our 1st winter with chickens and the outside run is extremely muddy since it is a slight downhill slope and water is running off straight through the run. We have covered the top of the run but its not helping much. Any suggestions on what we can use to help cover the mud it's a real slip and slid in there right now. We were thinking straw. Thanks for your advise.

  2. 2txmedics

    2txmedics Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Manvel Texas
    If you have alot of running water down into the run, straw will float...lol I know cause I used hay on mine even when I put it that the rain had stopped and the water came down....so I got two truck loads of dirt at 17.00 for each truck...and I spread it in the run, held it good for some time, it was a combination sand/dirt....has done real good until we go heavier non stop rain, now it doesnt flood like it use to...but it does hold water, puddles here and there....so now Ive put down alot of hay from my coops when I cleaned it out, just spread it out....not so bad now....

    But I did have to use alot of hay down....you can see my org. coop/run...on my link before the hay and dirt
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  3. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    hay works well. good luck [​IMG]
  4. Doormantnt

    Doormantnt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Glen Burnie, MD
    I'm facing the same situation...but also my first year with chickens, so trial and error.

    but I would recommend against straw in a muddy run(from experience) once it gets trampled and packed down it will be like removing a very wet, very smelly mattress.

    I have used shaveings from the coop on the bad spots in run, but not much better. It will absorb the wet quickly, and break down sooner then straw, but still a mess. It is much better to keep the water from getting there in the first place, then to try to dry it out. I also have a covered run, have dug drainage ditches around outside of run, and placed diversion ditches to get water away. Along with gutters on run, and coop.

    But this spring with be major renovation of digging out all the "temperary" fixes in there, and packed gravel, with 6-8" of sand build back up. But most importantly ABOVE grade.

    It looked like a pool in there earlier in the fall...

    check out the "Muddy Run sticky" in the coop section--very well put together, and good luck.

  5. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    I agree that hay and straw will float away. Even if it does not... it will soak up the water, but retain the moisture. That means mud for longer... even if it is not sqishy anymore, and possible mold, fungus, and nasties.

    Sand will improve drainage, speed drying time throughout the year, give the birds a real treat for dustbaths and available grit, and mix itself right in with the dirt (mud) you already have.
  6. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can use straw if the run dries out occasionally. What you do is turn the straw over into little heaps in the run. Your chickens will start going through it. This aerates and helps to dry & break down the straw. Just turn the straw anytime it gets packed down. You should find it wet & slightly smelly at the bottm when you turn it. The chicken action really helps break it down. I use the same straw in my run over winter, but I add to it as needed. This method my not work if there is too much moisture, in that case you might want to look into sand in the run. Sand drains well and is easy to clean. I think you would need at least 4 or 5 inches of it to keep it from becoming muddy sand. And if there is no curb or frame around the bottom of your pen you would want to add one to retain the sand.
  7. rosco

    rosco Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Texas Panhandle
    straw is no good. maybe a recycling center near you has mulch. you can rid of the mulch in spring.

    long term: sew some sand in. lots of it using a tiller.

    don't use hay or straw. it collects and harbors microbial growth. you'll have a moldy stinky mess on top of the mud. straw holds water.
  8. kcsunshine

    kcsunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2009
    Maryville, Tennessee
    I have a run-off problem too. A few corners collect water. I had lots of plastic shelving (the kind that fit over plastic poles and have holes in them. Placed them in stratigic spots until water was gone. It's a quick fix until more permanent one. I also turned some large plastic flower pots and layed some heavy boards (2x6) over them. Give the girls a place to get up off the ground. They seem to enjoy it.
  9. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Try this: At the top of the slope, where the runoff comes into the run, lay down a barrier at an angle to the run so it will deflect the water to one side or the other. You could use a railroad tie, or even a little piece of fence wire with plastic laid over it. Then, whichever side you want the water to go, dig a little ditch alongside the run to keep the water from going back into the run. The ditch doesn't have to be very deep, and the dirt you dig out can be piled up between the ditch and the run to help the situation.

    I know there's a lot of folks out there in the frozen tundra where digging would be a joke right now, but the barrier might help by itself.

    Mud is SUCH fun to play in, and SUCH a pain to work in!
  10. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Our run is at the base of a hill in our yard and the area was muddy generally. We covered the run with about 6 inches of construction grade sand and have been THRILLED with the performace! It's never muddy or wet as the water drains right down through the sand. We covered our run in heavy-weight plastic to keep it snow-free in December and that helps too.

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