Between heavy rains and snow melts, my chicken run gets pretty muddy this time of year. I tried using pelletized horse bedding and want to share my experience with you.
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My muddy chicken run
Attached to my small chicken coop, I have a 10×10 dog run covered over the top with a heavy duty tarp. No matter what I do to keep the water out, every year my chicken run ends up a muddy mess.
I have always used straw in this area to keep my girls from getting muddy. The problem with straw is while it’s great to keep the chickens on top of the mud, there is no absorption of excess water. Another downside to straw is that I am constantly cleaning it out of the run and replacing it with a dry layer. This can become a little pricey when it’s a wet season.
What is pelletized horse bedding?
Pelletized horse bedding is comprised of ground pine that is compressed into pellets. The pellets are treated with high heat to kill bacteria and sterilize the product. Pelletized pine has low dust and no fumes to interfere with chickens respiratory system.
The best feature of pelletized horse bedding is its high absorption of moisture. When exposed to water, the pellets break apart and expand into a fluffy material. The pine bedding also provides a fresh clean scent to your chicken run. This makes it a perfect fix for a muddy chicken run!
Using pelletized horse bedding to fix a muddy chicken run
After cleaning out all of the mucky straw, I purchased 6 40-lb bags of pelletized horse bedding from my local Tractor Supply priced at $6 per bag. I spread the pellets all over the floor of the run, paying particular attention to the corners and edges of the run. I raked them to form a nice, smooth layer.
One week later, I noticed the pellets around the corners and edges had absorbed the water and turned to a fine fluffy material. All of the run flooring remained dry and free of mud. As of this writing, the flooring is still clean and dry.
Maintaining pelletized pine bedding
Maintaining this flooring is so much easier than the straw I was using! I simply rake and fluff the bedding and use a kitty litter scoop to clean up droppings. We have had several rains since laying the pellets down and the snow has also melted, but the run is still clean, dry and fresh smelling!
At $6 per bag compared to straw bales of the same price, I will certainly be using the pelletized horse bedding in my chicken run going forward. The material is easy to use and completely compostable, making it an extra bonus for my garden.
The pellets did the job at absorbing the excess water in the run and maintains a dry flooring for my girls to walk on. The bedding is also easy to maintain by simply raking into place. I am so glad this product did the job and my girls couldn’t be happier!
What do you use to keep a muddy chicken run clean? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!