By Gaynor Davies
It doesn’t seem to have stopped raining since November. If your hen run looks anything like mine you’ll probably be sick of seeing mud and slipping about in your wellies. Can anything be done to improve conditions for the girls until the sun starts to shine and we have drier ground again?
Good drainage is key. It may seem obvious but if your coop and run is at the bottom of a slope the ground will become waterlogged. If you are not able to move your run to fresh ground on a regular rotation, you will need to think of ways to improve the experience for your hens.
Some ideas to try:
- Provide a paved area to stand the feeder on – if possible under cover.
- Make a crude field shelter – an old kitchen table with a tarpaulin over one side is easy to rig up.
- Put a layer of sand/rubber chippings or gravel down to help with drainage. Bark chippings can go mouldy so be careful if using these.
- Provide a dry sand box under cover to allow the hens to dust bath.
- Treat your ground near the pop hole or door with a disinfectant; this will stop the ground becoming poached and smelly.
- Use plenty of absorbent bedding inside the coop to minimise the amount of mud and wet tracked into your coop.
- Remember that loose wet ground can cause run supports to move and leave gaps for predators – check your perimeter on a regular basis.
- If you normally rely on an electric fence, ensure it is still functioning correctly in the wet conditions.
I keep telling my girls that it won’t be long before they feel the sun on their backs but I don’t think they are convinced!