Are your chickens drowning in a constant puddle of water? Mine are! I found myself digging a temporary ditch around the Hen House to prevent future issues. Once Spring arrives, we will figure our a more permanent plan.
This last Fall, we built an extension to our Hen House to hold all 49 chickens comfortably. During this time, it never crossed my mind that I had to think about our sopping wet clay soil and how much of an issue it would become.
We are having an above average rainy winter. Living in northwest Washington, we are used to a lot of rain. This year is just ridiculous!
The water congregates right where we placed the hen house
Where we have our hen house, the water flows and congregates in the front and flows into the ditch between the henhouse and the garden area. Unfortunately, I noticed in heavy rains, it overflows under the new addition. In turn, the wood soaks up the water and it gets the bedding wet in the roost area and if not taken care of, will create mold and get our hens sick,
So we had a break in between rain storms one afternoon and I took advantage of the sun and grabbed my shovel and got to work.
why temporary and not a permanent fix?
In the dead of the winter, it is extremely hard around here to do any large, ground moving projects on our wet property. Our ground turns to a very sticky, annoying mud. In fact, I call our winters MUD SEASON. So I did a temporary fix for now to help reduce the problem. Once the ground is more workable, Dave and I will figure our what to do to permanently fix the problem.
Digging a temporary ditch
I started on the side of the Hen House. The side where water sits up against the House, both from drainage but also runoff from the roof. I dug a small ditch the entire length of the Hen House. Close enough to where the rain that runs off the roof will not sit up against the siding.
Then I continued digging the ditch around the front, all the way to the main ditch. I was not sure how big or deep to dig, so I guessed. The next day, I did have to dig a bit wider and in other places, I dug a bit deeper.
Overall, this will keep the wood from sitting in standing water. We will still be damp, but not water logged.
I had helpers while digging a temorary ditch
During this process, I had let the ladies out of their run to enjoy fresh grass and any bugs they could dig up. They had discovered that with every shovelful, I would unearth a bunch of earth worms. Needless to say, this project took me a lot longer to complete that it should have. Chickens are very entertaining when they are hunting worms.
So if you are having an issue on your property, but it is not the right time to properly fix it, know you can do a temporary fix. I used to believe that it had to be done right the first time and it would stress me out and cause a bigger issue by the time we got around to fixing it. Had I let this go and ignored the problem, I would have ended up with a lot more mold and possibly sick chickens. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just functional.
For other chicken related posts: https://simplelifeinthecountry.com/category/the-homestead/