Chicken Run IIs Soggy and Nasty

derbycitycat(6KY)November 1, 2009

I have been reading this forum for some time now. I bought six chicks this spring and love having them. I have a small coop and a 6 x 18' run. Ten feet of this run is covered with a tarp. The rest of the run has gotten really wet and soggy with all of the rain we have been having. I have been using pine shavings and they are great until it rains another inch or two. Now everything is a soggy nasty mess. I need advice from the "experts". What would be better to use to keep it from getting so bad? Do I need to remove everything down to the dirt?

I am in the process of building a bigger coop within the run. I am not allowed to free range the chickens due to local regulations. The pen has a wire top over it to keep predators out.

Any help with be appreciated.

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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

Can you get some larger, heavier wood chips? Lay them down heavy and should last awhile.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 7:39AM
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I haven't tried this yet, but I read somewhere if you get some of the wooden pallets and put them in the run, it would help. I am going to check the dumpsters at Home Depot, as they trash theirs.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 5:46PM
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If I had an outside pen, I think I would build an elevated wire walkway (platform if you may), one that the chickens can get under if they wanted to in nice weather, and above on the wire when it's wet. The chickens could stay dry on the wire, but I could remove bedding from underneath the wire when needed (3 feet high, maybe 4 feet wide so a hoe/shovel/pitchfork can reach).

The wire would have to be something of suitable size so feet don't get caught-or maybe even metal rods (think of a fireplace grill) so the feces can fall through. Come to think of it, if you know a welder a metal frame could easily be made from rebar per your instruction.

I think I would cover more of the run with a tarp, also, as they'll get plenty of sun shining under the tarp at varying parts of the day.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 7:37PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Perhaps a thick layer of large-chunk gravel, with your litter material over that. It might help provide drainage and avoid the mold problem.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 1:37PM
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Here in Michigan there is clay, lots of clay. Slippery when wet, and if loose enough will suck your shoes of if not careful.

What seems to work the best is pelleted saw dust (used for bedding not burning). Keep adding in 1/2" layers until the problem is solved. It will dry out between rains. The hens love to scratch in it for bugs. Keep adding to it all years long and when it becomes loaded with too much chic-poo compost it for the garden.

Best of all, it looks nice and neat.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 6:22PM
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Thanks for all the helpful hints. I am working on putting a roof over most of the pen, so that should help. We have just had so much rain this year, it has gotten really messy. It is finally drying out some.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 11:21AM
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This past spring we had inches of rain and my husband put wood chips in the chicken pen.I didn"t think they helped much.We use shredded leaves in the coop.I raked up leaves that were not shredded.They helped a lot.I added more as each bunch got chopped up by the chickens along with small weeds like henbit and chickweed.That really helped.Posy Pet

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 6:43PM
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In my coop I use washed sand. It is relatively inexpensive and you can have it delivered. I heavily sand the pen about once a year (3-5 inches deep), but several times a year I remove the top layer of sand with a flat blade shovel and compost it. It is very good to use in a pen with heavy ducks like Pekins as it cushions their feet. The hens will make wallows but it is easy to rake it smooth again. Hope this helps

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 5:59PM
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We added leaves again this year, but then our coop is enclosed. I'm not sure if the leaves are better than the shavings we usually use, but they're free so why not?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 8:14PM
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