Fixing my mud issue, NW readers please chime in...
I don't know if horse owners in other regions have as much of a problem with rain and mud as those of us in the NW do but I am looking for ideas.
I have a 3 stall barn with entries on the outside. Even though we are on the top of a hill, due to the soil/clay content, our drainage is CRAP. From October to May/June we have deep mud outside the stalls. This is causing all our horses to get weird fungus stuff on their feet and lose hair because they are perpetually globed up with mud and they often would rather stand out in the rain than struggle through the sloppy mud, in some places as much as 12" deep.
So I am looking for ideas on how to fix this. I have a couple ideas that I am entertaining but I am of course open to anything at this point.
1.Bring in a "Bobcat" and dig out all the mud/dirt down to about 2' deep in an area as wide as the entire stall area and about 15'-20' out (distance from barn doors to outer edge).
2.Dump a truck load of 2"-3" crushed rock in the area and level that out.
3.Put Sand or dirt back on top of the rock so the surface is soft enough for the times of year when they don't have shoes.
Theory:This would allow the water to sink down and move freely through the rock layer and pool there or run off to the edges where there will still be mud but at least it won't be in front of the stalls.
1. Bring in a backhoe and dig trenches approx 1' wide and 2'-3' deep and 20' long, at a 90 degree angle from the barn wall, about 4' apart. From above this would look like a big "comb" with the trenches being the blades of the comb.
2. Take 1-3 lengths of 5" perforated PVC pipe and lay them side by side in each trench running the length of the trench.
3. Fill the trenches with 2"-3" crushed rock and sand alternating layers and cover with dirt.
I thought about just digging out and pouring a cement slab over the whole area but that would be cost prohibitive.
I am open to ideas, thanks for taking the time to read and respond if you are so inclined.
If you have a farmer in the area that has the stuff to TILE it that may be the cheepest quickest way.
Do you mean rototill? Or some kind of tiles?
Tilling (with a rototiller) seems like it would just turn the entire area into even worse soup.
Tiling is when you put in drainage piping below ground to take the water away.
Being an Oregonian maybe I can help. Clear your area, I would say a good 12 feet out front of your barn. Lay down construction carpet, there are two types. One does not allow water to penetrate and one does. Use the carpet that allows water to penetrate. What the carpet does is keeps the mud from swallowing up your rock, which it will. Put down 6 inches of 3 inch crushed rock then pack it. Layer that with 4 or more inches of unwashed 3/4 minus, pack it down every 1.5-2 inches. You want don't want it washed, the finer particles help lock everything together for solid footing. If it's washed the rock will move around with every step and end up wallowing out.
Next you have to keep as much water off the area as possible. Make sure your drainage is away fromt he barn, ditch if needed. Lot of barns don't have gutters, put them on and make sure the water is piped away from the barn. Barn should be a high point if at all possible.
You also have to maintain gravel you put down. Keep the weeds from growing in it. Clean the dropped hay and such swept off. Scrape off any manure that your horses drop on it. If you don't do this the muck will just build up on top of it.
My area has lots of clay too and the drainage was horrible. I just recently did this last week actually...
We have a fairly powerful John Deer Tractor, so I dug between 12-18 inches (depending on the spots) and dumped it far far away. LoL
We have an auger that we can hook to the tractor. It drills about 16 inches diameter, and about 4 feet down. In a 15' by 50' area, I drilled over 40 holes. Cleaned them out and scraped all the excess dirt/clay out. I made a hole every 1-1/2 to 2 feet.
Filled the holes with sand, and then put a top layer of sand between 8 and 14 inches. It's working like a charm! I have more areas to do but I'm very happy so far with my outcome. It's been pouring today and I don't have any mud in the area where I did this. Horses are liking it a lot too.
I live in Shohomish, WA - so I am right there with you!!! Actually, I gave up and moved my horses to a stable because I couldn't take the mud any more!
I LOVE your idea #1 or Darrin's idea. I think either would work.
The stable I am at just keeps dumping 2" gravel in all the bad spots and letting the mud swallow it up. I have to keep the horses shod, but there are dry places to walk.
I have seen one other thing work, but you have to have luck for it to work out. If you can get in good with an arborist to deliver you a steady supply of wood chips from cleanign up trees - you can lay down about four feet of that and it works great. The problem is that you need to add another foot or so every year. It makes for a nice comfortable walking surface.
In eight years I have never been able to get a single load...
We did this a few years ago in another area and to this day have never had an issue with the area's settling and causing a problem. I really pack the sand down in the holes. We've also done it to our driveway with major success.
I just want to chime in for a bit of NW support. I am in Dallas, Oregon, west of Salem and man, do we have mud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will it ever stop raining!!!
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