What to use out in the run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jendodd79, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. jendodd79

    jendodd79 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2012
    It is really, really wet right now! It rains here consistently from November-March and we have a brand new run. It was put in on dirt and I've spread a layer of sand in there, but it's turned to a muddle mess of puddles! Any ideas what we can use in the floor of the run to make it less messy? We have a 24 foot by 4 ft run and 6 hens.
  2. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    Use wood shavings or straw, change them out when they get soaked, or just add a dry layer on top. I usually just add a dry layer on top, then change it all out once a week.
  3. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    Thankyou Chickeneer!! I was just wondering the same thing! Thanks again
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First, read this.

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

    Try to keep water out. If it sets in rainy and wet that is almost impossible for most of us but any water you can keep out can help. Look at rainwater runoff and consider swales or berms to divert it. Look at the slope of your coop roof and see if you need gutters or something like that to get it away from your run. Since yours is only 4' wide, covering top and at least the upwind side may work. The wider ones are harder. You might use something temporary like a tarp or maybe something more permanent. Remember snow and ice load so make it strong enough.

    Then look at drainage. If your run is in a low spot where water collects and stands its real rough. But if the water has some place to drain to, you at least have a chance. If you use enough sand that usually works, but it has to be high enough for the water to drain to someplace else. Over time it will mix in with the mud underneath or maybe wash away. The chickens will scratch it and help mix it or scratch it out of the run entirely. It's amazing how much material the chickens can move by scratching.

    You may need to put a foundation in your run. I put a few inches of clay dirt in my coop to get it above the outside, then put shavings on top of that. But in the coop that was contained and the rain does not get in that much. In your run, consider using gravel as a base. I suggest rounded gravel that does not have sharp edges where they can cut their feet when scratching. The put a thick layer of sand on top of that. Something that would really help with that is to put something around the bottom of your run to contain the sand. Otherwise it will wash out or they will scratch it out. You’ll still probably have to top off the sand occasionally, but if you can set it up right in your circumstances maybe that will be every few years instead of every few weeks or months. Some places are just harder than others.

    My 12’ x 32’ run is just dirt but it is partially covered and it is on a slight rise so it drains. I put a swale on the uphill side to keep rainwater runoff out. It still gets muddy in there when it sets in wet. They dig holes for dust baths too. I’ve dumped a few bags of pea gravel at the gate and at the door to the coop which helps a lot but I understand it can be really hard to keep it from getting muddy when it sets in wet.

    Good luck!!!
  5. CovertChickOps

    CovertChickOps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2012
    Undisclosed, Virginia
    Have you considered coop curtains? Not an option for everybody, but I've had very good luck with mine as long as I keep an eye on the weather for rain storms. You can find tarps that are clear or mostly clear on ebay.

  6. Cluky

    Cluky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    I had same issue in my run. Ended up that my drainage was just not set up well. So we ended up digging into the soil and putting a 5 inch, couple of foot long pipe in, filled with gravel. opped it off with a grate and then put my sand around the whole run (yes more work but better) Not the chicken run is great. Even in downpours it does get wet but isn't a muddy, sandy mess.
  7. jendodd79

    jendodd79 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2012
    Thank you! Yea, I'm dreading going out there right now - it's been raining for days!!
  8. kreagerm

    kreagerm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2012
    I just rake leaves into the run (40'x10'). It's keeps them from getting to muddy and when they mulch up the leaves I just rake in more. I've just started placing a tarp over my run and that is making a difference too.
  9. Chicken Frenzie

    Chicken Frenzie Chicken Whisperer

    Nov 2, 2010
    This year we had the idea of putting plastic around the run. I also have a perch in the run, and I put lots of hay into the run. The chickens keep themselves busy with their scratching, and the snow/wind/rain doesn't get into the run, it worked out very nicely! Also after a big rainstorm, I used a shovel and put all of the mud & poop into the compost pile.. it was really heavy but worth it. I hadn't cleaned it out for like 2 yearsso all the hay & other stuff was about 3 in. thick! It was gross,but they have fresh dirt now.
  10. gram of five

    gram of five Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 6, 2011
    I won't tell you what it cost to fix our "muddy run" problem, but I do admit I love seeing the girls out in the run now and not getting their feet all muddy and right now full of snow. We live in central NY and we have lots of snow now and rain in the spring. Last year we tried tarps, forget that, so this summer we spent lots of $ and time, but they have a 10x30' roofed run. there is a 10x20' extension, but no roof. They won't even go near that unroofed partnow that there is snow in it, but I do love seeing them out side and comfortable under cover. Its so much easier for cleaning also. Last year I felt like you and dreaded going out in that gross run, but I do love the visits this year. I hope you can find a less expensive solution, but it is $ well spent for us. Sand will still get wet, as you know, but less mud if you put it deep enough. Good luck no matter what you do.

    Oh, one more thing, we do put clear plastic around all the outer walls so the snow doesn't blow in. And it's sheltered from the wind with the plastic sides.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012

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