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I have a covered lo rise run with paving slabs and then wood chip on the top. The wood chip is in an awful state at the moment muddy and wet and is needing to be replaced. 

I have read that because my run is covered my wood chips wont stay as clean (as the rain is able to wash them off) I do hose them down occasionally and leave to dry but this obviously isnt as easy now Autumn is here. I pooh pick every now and again. 

Anyone else use wood chips and not cover their run? Does it work better to just let nature wash them? 

I'm wondering whether my slabs under the wood chip are also hindering the drainage too....

I guess the problem is they are muddy and smelly and when I researched what to do on my run floor slabs/wood chip seemed the most favoured option...but it doesn't seem to be as good as I thought it would be. 

Can you leave a run not covered all winter? The ladies do have a covered 3m run from their Go coop to the lo rise for shelter.

 

I'm thinking of throwing a bag of Arboise in with the chips too to try and tidy it up a bit but not sure if that will be a disaster!! 

Thanks for any advice x

 

 

Edited by MamaCoop

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Either have a dry and completely covered run, so your bedding stays dry, or have really good drainage. With paving slabs underneath, it will never give brilliant drainage. To keep your run dry, it is not only important to have a good cover, but also make sure with paving slabs that no water is running in from the sides. If your coop and paving slabs are sitting slightly proud of the ground, you prevent it turning into one big puddle.

For now I would get rid of the wood chips, give it a good clean, solve any issues with the paving slabs and sort out your covering. And then you can start again with clean and dry bedding.

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Chickens lose a lot of heat through their feet and with Winter coming wet flooring will freeze. I'd certainly do as Cattails suggests.

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I have woodchip on slabs in a 4 x 2 metre lo-rise run which is covered over the top and two sides. My woodchip too gets soggy in continuous wet weather but the top layer although damp is never wet or muddy. I change the whole lot every 18 months or so or after lots of them have moulted and so the floor is covered in feather dander which does go horrid if it gets all wet. I poo pick at least once a week, usually more and always more in the winter. How long have you had the woodchip down?

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Thank you. I have spent all day cleaning the slabs, old wood chip out and trying to give more or a slope on the slabs where pools of water was resting.

 

New wood chip tomorrow and a new tarpaulin. Thanks for your help x

 

Can I ask how you keep your coops completely dry. I have a few Omlet covers with bungy chords and some plastic old banners cable ties on the sides. But there is always going to be a join and water always gets in. If keeping it dry is the key now do you do this? 

 

Thanks again 

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1 hour ago, mullethunter said:

I have woodchip on slabs in a 4 x 2 metre lo-rise run which is covered over the top and two sides. My woodchip too gets soggy in continuous wet weather but the top layer although damp is never wet or muddy. I change the whole lot every 18 months or so or after lots of them have moulted and so the floor is covered in feather dander which does go horrid if it gets all wet. I poo pick at least once a week, usually more and always more in the winter. How long have you had the woodchip down?

Hi Mullethunter I think I must have answered just as you posted! I've had my chip down only since June...so not that long. I expected it to last longer. However having hosed it down today I can see why there are problems as a few slabs drain away and others dont so just collect water. Those that collect the wood chip is just rotten and smelly. 

I do think  in spring I probably need to take the slabs out and start again but cant do that now due to time/money. Maybe some kind of membrane instead of slabs. 

 

Do you have a slope on your slabs Mullethunter? And how thick is your layer of chip? 

 

Thanks again...going to bed achy after today and little bit defeated but tomorrow is a new day! 

Edited by MamaCoop

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People have cried over having membranes down. Slabs are definitely better. I have mine dug in and backfilled with soil. But made sure there are gabs of at least 1 cm between slabs so water can drain (and in my case, earthworms can get through to clean the soil)

Placing your slabs a few cm apart shouldn’t be too difficult right? And it would solve any pooling of water.

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Mine are more or less level - certainly not perfect because I did it myself - but they don’t seem to have any low points where water collects. That’s probably more by luck than good judgement!

The slabs are placed on a few inches of sand which is on a porous weed suppressing membrane and they’re all spaced with probably about a centimetre gap between them. I think I’m lucky hat the underlying soil also drains fairly well.

The woodchips are probably between one and four inches deep.

Don’t worry - you’ll find something that works.

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I always recommend a run on slabs or a concrete base, form a security point of view and also to make it easier to clean out. 

The run needs to be water tight so far as is possible; apart from chooks getting fungal and bacterial foot infections in the damp litter, it will start to pong very quickly. I went to visit a lovely lady the other day - she had a problem with her chooks, it was one of those days of torrential rain and her run wasn't covered. The chooks were all trying to find cover under the coop, and the litter was sodden and muddy. This wasn't connected to the problem she had with them, but i recommended that she covered it so that they (and she) would be much happier and clean.

My cube (mark 1) runs have clear tarps over he top and sides, they are on slabbed bases and have Aubiose as the litter.

Remember that if we have another DEFRA AI prevention shut-down this year, your birds will need to be under cover 24/7... last time it went on from early December until March the following year. I always stress on my courses that it is really important to make sure that you have a secure, covered run with more then enough space for all your hens to be kept in.

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Thanks for your reply Dogmother. How do you get your run water tight? Without it feeling like the hens are living indoors? 

 

I have a Go and 3m run then a 3x2 lo rise all connected. There are covers across all of the roof and two of the sides of the lo rise are also covered but it's just so damp. I'm keeping the slabs for now and have improved their drainage. Some water will always get in wont it though? Was just wondering how you manage it using Auboise. 

 

First winter coming up with chickens and want to make sure they are as good as can be!! 

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I'm having this problem too! ☹️  Mine is a roofed walk-in run on concrete and the water just seeps in underneath.  I even paid a carpenter to make a plinth for it to stand on which has made some difference but with this continuous rain we've had the aubiose is soaking and I've given in for the moment and brought my seramas indoors.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I'm seriously thinking of buying my three seramas a large rabbit hutch on legs and putting them in there when it's wet!

Edited by SeramaSilly
Thought of something else!

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Water seeps under my run so I seal around the base with external caulk (flexible, waterproof and can be applied in the wet).  Don't worry too much about colour as it soon blends with dirt.  I usually renew it yearly.  On the west side I have screwed on acrylic panels with a couple of inch gap at top for ventilation and on the other sides have clear tarps on hooks I can add depending on the wind direction.  Usually they're just rolled up.  The roof is fluted acrylic and I've a gutter running along the bottom of the slope and an extra roof section over the cube.  It's not foolproof but does a good job of keeping the girls dry.  The base of the run is concrete that I sealed with garage floor paint. Hope this gives you some ideas, it's so much easier when the run is dry.

Don't put sealant on the inside of the base of the run for some reason chickens eat it. 9_9

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Hi Plum,

I've tried expandable sealant in the past and it didn't make any difference - perhaps I'll have another go - can you remember what make you use?  I cover the run sides almost fully with plastic sheets.  I didn't think sealing the concrete - does that make a difference?

 

x

 

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Probably doesn't make a difference.

I've got 2 tubes on the go so not sure which I used last.

20191023_141011.thumb.jpg.2fca2b763a64a5a29b9ed90889065320.jpg20191023_141008.thumb.jpg.9857768e5f4a43358fe672b613097803.jpg

I brush all dirt away and push wadding (left over from quilting into the gaps with a knife so it's not too deep.  Then apply the filler with a wet finger and make sure its sealed against wood and concrete with no tiny gaps.  There's probably proper stuff instead of wadding but I don't know what it 

As you can see from this pic it's probably been painted over and is mossy.  Think I did it last Autumn

20191023_141218.thumb.jpg.38e1debd3b82453d0eba035ce9f1dc72.jpg

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Thanks Plum, I'm going to have another go then.  Chicken-keeping should not be THIS challenging!! 🙄 x

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21 hours ago, The Dogmother said:

I always recommend a run on slabs or a concrete base, form a security point of view and also to make it easier to clean out. 

The run needs to be water tight so far as is possible; apart from chooks getting fungal and bacterial foot infections in the damp litter, it will start to pong very quickly. I went to visit a lovely lady the other day - she had a problem with her chooks, it was one of those days of torrential rain and her run wasn't covered. The chooks were all trying to find cover under the coop, and the litter was sodden and muddy. This wasn't connected to the problem she had with them, but i recommended that she covered it so that they (and she) would be much happier and clean.

My cube (mark 1) runs have clear tarps over he top and sides, they are on slabbed bases and have Aubiose as the litter.

Remember that if we have another DEFRA AI prevention shut-down this year, your birds will need to be under cover 24/7... last time it went on from early December until March the following year. I always stress on my courses that it is really important to make sure that you have a secure, covered run with more then enough space for all your hens to be kept in.

Thanks Dogmother for the extra info. How do we hear about the DEFRA shut down and does it happen every winter? 

 

 

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The water doesn't seep underneath.  If the puddles get deep it can go over the door cill absolutely nothing i can do about that and if I don't put the tarpaulin down then rain can blow through the wire.  But yes it keeps it lovely and dry.

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You do have to be sure not to have the slightest gap though :)

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11 hours ago, MamaCoop said:

Thanks for your reply Dogmother. How do you get your run water tight? Without it feeling like the hens are living indoors? 

I have 4 x 3m clear tarps, the ones with the webbing in, which reach right along the cube runs and down the sides. I angle them outwards at the bottom (where they reach the kickboards) and secure with bungee hooks. I have created a slight 'porch' on the front of each run by sliding some clear corrugated plastic under he tarps to make an overhang; that mostly stops water getting in the front.

My runs are sideways on to the weather

There is information here on AI and how to prevent it, there's a text service to receive notifications

You do not need to register your birds if you have less than 50.

Edited by The Dogmother
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22 hours ago, The Dogmother said:

I have 4 x 3m clear tarps, the ones with the webbing in, which reach right along the cube runs and down the sides. I angle them outwards at the bottom (where they reach the kickboards) and secure with bungee hooks. I have created a slight 'porch' on the front of each run by sliding some clear corrugated plastic under he tarps to make an overhang; that mostly stops water getting in the front.

My runs are sideways on to the weather

There is information here on AI and how to prevent it, there's a text service to receive notifications

You do not need to register your birds if you have less than 50.

Thank you!

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