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Happy as a chook out of mud

Happy as a chook out of mud

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It’s important to make your chicken shed waterproof, SIMON WEBSTER reports.

The cooler months of the year are a great time to get some of those structural jobs done around the garden. It’s an opportunity to tackle the tasks that are too hard in the heat of summer: you can move your vegie beds, lay a path or convert a paddock into a golf driving range. Whatever takes your fancy.


Here in northern NSW, winter is also the dry season, which makes it the perfect time to prepare for next season’s wet. And taking a few measures to keep your chooks dry should be high on the list.


Water entering your pen will soon turn deep litter into deep mush, and there’s nothing more miserable than a chicken in mud. Disease organisms love wet ground; chooks most definitely do not.   


As well as maintaining a leak-free roof, it’s important to divert running water before it enters the chookshed.


I installed a French drain around my chook pen last winter, and it worked a treat over a very wet summer. Installation involved digging a trench, putting down some 20mm aggregate (AKA blue metal), laying some slotted drainage pipe (100mm, from memory), wrapping shadecloth around the pipe to stop it getting clogged up, then backfilling with aggregate. You’ll find lots of more detailed explanations and videos online.


As you can see from the pic, taken mid-installation, I’ve got a decent slope (important for a French drain), and the water runs away nicely. Believe me, it got a good workout this year.


For some more ideas on dealing with a muddy chookshed, see this article on the US poultry website,


For a more in-depth look at keeping your chooks happy and healthy, check out our Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Backyard Chickens, out now.