Muddy Chickens

chicken run

We had planned to visit the allotment again yesterday but attempting to weed in heavy rain and hail didn’t seem very appealing. It was far too wet and cold to do anything constructive so we decided to stay home and tackle a job from our long list. Despite the new chicken run roof (put on about a month ago), the ground was being saturated by wind-driven rain and our poor hens were sinking inside their muddy enclosure. As predicted, the grass didn’t survive enthusiastic chicken feet for very long and the ground quickly became a swamp. Leaving the ground like this will eventually cause disease problems.

IMG_2692chickenrun

The first thing we did was to attach a sheet of tarp to the back of the run (another piece is needed to finish off the back and side), we used bricks to weight it down giving a snug fit. It doesn’t look particularly appealing but it does the job of keeping the rain out. After generously sprinkling Stalosan F poultry disinfectant over the soil we slabbed the floor of the enclosure using patio slabs stored away in our garage since moving day. The sodden ground made it really easy to bed them in.

chicken run

To finish off, a generous heap of horse bedding (chopped straw and dust extracted shavings mix) on top of the slabbed chicken run floor and the girls are dry and happy again. Our chicken enclosure is far too big to move around to fresh ground, slabbing the floor over prevents the ground from becoming ‘sick’ and prevents rats and predators from tunnelling underneath. It’s simple to clean too. Patio slabs are expensive to buy so keep an eye out for them on websites like Freecycle.