Sunday, October 18, 2009

Muddy Chicken Pen Or Maybe Not?

Dark Brahma, Orpington, Curly the Cochin, Light Brahma, Dark Brahma, two Buff Brahmas, Orpington, Wyandotte, Light Brahma, Australorp

This afternoon a bunch of the hens congregated near the green house fence. I haven't seen this before. Maybe the afternoon sun warmed up this area and the girls had found a cozy place.

The KentuckyFarmGirl's question about the chicken pen got me thinking about what a slippery goopy muddy place the chicken pen can become and I decided to try and do something to head off the mess instead of dealing with the mud after the fact. This is the pen when I started. It is a little damp from the last storm but not muddy yet.

My way of dealing with the mud has been to cover it with leaves. In past years I have been putting down leaves after the pen was muddy, but it is a lot nicer to haul around dry leaves than wet ones. It is also a lot easier to walk around on dry ground. And this year I'm trying out wood chips, from where Tom cut up the wood, on one end of the pen. What usually happens is that the leaves sink down in the mud and I keep topping the pen off with new layers of leaves. I feel so sorry for the hens when they have to stay in the pen when the weather is bad and Morgan can't go outside. So, I'll see what happens with this experiment.

I wonder if the wood chips will work out better than the leaves? When the rains are over, I usually take out the leaves and put them in the garden and put down a new layer of dirt in the chicken pen. Sometimes I have just covered up the leaves with a layer of dirt.

I read about making a shallow ditch to divert water from the pen and decided to try that out. Morgan is wondering what I'm up to. The ground looks level in the photos, but it slopes toward the chicken coop. Hopefully, this little ditch will keep runoff water out of the pen. There have been times when Morgan has run around the pen and made a path that looked pretty much like this.

We got a little rain this evening and it is supposed to rain tomorrow. Good thing Kristine and I unplugged our computers, because there was lightning and the power went out for a few hours.

[no eggs today]
I hope the hens are saving them up for tomorrow.


diane said...

The ditch sounds a good idea.

Tanya said...

I hope everyone stays dry.

Becky's Barnyard said...

The little ditch will help a lot. I have to put another out at the barn. I have also got to have more dirt hauled in. You pen looks nice and neat now.