Winter is Coming (To the pacific northwest)

Turner_Family_Flock

In the Brooder
May 16, 2020
24
41
36
Anyone have tips on watery winters? I know lots of places have snow over winter, however I live in a low-elevation area of Oregon that gets a LOT of rain in the winter.
Which isn't usually a problem, we just sort of let the yard get overgrown and then we mow it when it dries up for a few days, but now we have chickens and a run that's got a dirt bottom.
And even in light rain we've found that mud gets caked onto the bottom of our birdies' feet real fast.
I've made a point of washing their feet when I can, because sometimes if there's too much mud on their feet they'll flick their feet like they're trying to get it off and they dont seem to like it.
They LOVE to dig, though. In fact, during the last few sunny days of the season, they dug up 5 holes in their run (They were bored, obviously, we'd just taken out the garden so we werent regularly tossing them tomatoes and zucchini like we were during summer).
This has caused a lot of loose dirt, which with the recent rain, has caused a muddy run.
How do we prevent a muddy run that they can use through winter? Should we lay a tarp over the top of the run to prevent direct rain, or is there something we can lay on the ground of the run to prevent so much mud?
 

DaisyG2317

Songster
Jul 14, 2020
556
1,918
206
Tulip Town, WA
Anyone have tips on watery winters? I know lots of places have snow over winter, however I live in a low-elevation area of Oregon that gets a LOT of rain in the winter.
Which isn't usually a problem, we just sort of let the yard get overgrown and then we mow it when it dries up for a few days, but now we have chickens and a run that's got a dirt bottom.
And even in light rain we've found that mud gets caked onto the bottom of our birdies' feet real fast.
I've made a point of washing their feet when I can, because sometimes if there's too much mud on their feet they'll flick their feet like they're trying to get it off and they dont seem to like it.
They LOVE to dig, though. In fact, during the last few sunny days of the season, they dug up 5 holes in their run (They were bored, obviously, we'd just taken out the garden so we werent regularly tossing them tomatoes and zucchini like we were during summer).
This has caused a lot of loose dirt, which with the recent rain, has caused a muddy run.
How do we prevent a muddy run that they can use through winter? Should we lay a tarp over the top of the run to prevent direct rain, or is there something we can lay on the ground of the run to prevent so much mud?
I'm north of you in Washington state with the same liquid sunshine problems. Wood chips will help immensly with the mud. What also helps is some plastic sheeting on the outside of the run to prevent the awful windswept sideways rain 😀

We also ran a very inexpensive gutter with a rain barrel on the coop, and it has really helped keep the run dry.
 
Last edited:

piminuse

Songster
Jul 17, 2020
450
1,969
161
Portland, OR
I'm in OR too just outside the valley, so I totally get your concerns about wet weather. Aside from having a covered run, we also have lots of debris in our run to keep things relatively dry (sticks, straw--whatever comes from the yard). They don't really get to the dirt unless they're digging deep for it. We plan on putting clear panels on the two exposed sides during deep winter to reduce wind/rain from impacting them too much.

During our initial research for climates similar to ours I saw a pretty neat and affordable option: stone pavers. Create a few "islands" of pavers for your birds to hopscotch on to keep their feet dry. You can also add sand/gravel to reduce the mud in the run. We opted for big chunks of wood from an old tree that they can hand out on.
 

MarkJr

Change in America begins at the dinner table
Premium Feather Member
Jun 15, 2020
3,290
15,594
461
Elkton, OR
ECBD8843-8647-4D87-95B3-893BCB6B86EF.jpeg

My setup. Coop is deep bedding with pine shavings. Run is dirt, but has no rain that gets to it. Coop has extra wide eaves for shelter so they can stay dry outside if needed.
 

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