I am doing my homework on possibly starting my own flock. I have a question that I can't seem to find any info on. I am on an irrigated lot in central Phoenix. My question is about mud control. I would berm up an area of the yard and make sure the coop was off the ground. The problem is I want to birds to free range. All a can come up with is keep them in the run for the 2 or 3 days the mud is at its worst. Any suggestions?

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  • Since you know when you are going to irrigate I would keep them in the run the day you know the gates will be open. After you shut the gates I would open the run and let them out the first time so they know they have a dry area if they want one. The only thing I would be concerned about your irrigation is if you have baby chicks. I have lost them in bowls of drinking water and my fish pond before. Another problem I experienced was I had a run that used to get muddy and a few of my birds developed dry mud clots aroung their ankles. They didn't seem to bother them, may have even helped them strengthen their leg muscles, but they bothered me so I removed them!

    • Thx for the note... 

  • I just thought they would pull all that dirt into to coop. Sounds like I might be overthinking it. Thanks for for the feedback everybody.
  • I agree with Aedan. Our chickens love the free ranging. On irrigated lots the grass roots are typically pretty deep and would take a LOTof chickens before they could mess up the grass. Just make sure they have a dry area they can retreat to.
  • Hi Tim-
    I have irrigation, and I just built the coop up on a little square berm, so the litter and floor stay dry. I let the girls out with water in the yard, or even let them out while the irrigation is flowing. They love the water, the will walk right through it and go nuts picking out all the bugs that come up. We get a ton of wild birds in the yard every time we irrigate. Plus, I think the irrigation/chicken poop mix is doing amazing things for the soil, versus just the poop as they walk around the field.
  • Why do you want to keep them out of the mud?  I would think that the chickens would love to free range in the mud.  That's when they find all the juicy bugs!  As long as their coop and a small yard of some sort are available for them to dry their feet when they want to.

    I don't have irrigation, but when my yard floods the chickens love it and every time I flood the citrus trees they are there.

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