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5 Solutions for Muddy Livestock Areas

September 18, 2021

Mud is a common problem for farmers and ranchers throughout the Northwest. While muddy spots might not pose a serious overall health risk to cattle and other livestock, the suction effect can make it hard for them to get to their water and feed. Here are 5 ways to reduce the mud on your property.

1. Add Wood Shavings

Adding an inch or more of simple wood chips or shavings can be a great way to reduce mud. Adding up to a foot in paddocks and around troughs can also be beneficial. Remember, that wood decomposes quickly in the rain, so you might be adding chips every so often. If you do add chips or hog fuel and you have horses, DO NOT USE locus or black walnut shavings as they can be toxic. Additionally, straw is a great way to reduce mud. However, it can cause digestive issues for horses.

2. Reconsider Gutters and Downspouts

By diverting water away from alleyways as well as feeding and watering areas, you can significantly cut down on mud during the rainy season. If necessary, add PVC piping to downspouts to move water to other areas, including storage tanks. And don’t forget to clean out the gutters on barns and outbuildings to keep water flowing down the gutters instead of overflowing into pastures and other areas.

3. Dig Out the Mud and Add a lot of Rock

If you have a really bad spot where mud continually accumulates, it might be time to fix the problem permanently. Start by digging out the mud. You may need to go down several feet. Then add a layer of landscaping fabric to keep the gravel in place. Next, add a foot or more of ¾-minus gravel and pack it down. Then add half a foot of ¼-minus gravel on top of the 3/4-minus and pack it down. The new footing will be forgiving enough for livestock but compact enough to withstand the weather and keep mud from accumulating. You may need to add several inches of ¼-minus gravel annually as it gets compacted.

4. Add a Water Bar (or two)

When the rain starts, it can create small streams of water through fields and alleyways. These then become mud. Water bars are simply ways of diverting some of the water. Water bars, or water speed bumps, can be as simple as a 4-foot long line of rocks or bricks buried partway into the ground with one end at a higher elevation than the bottom. The water will follow the speed bump down and flow out in the direction of the lower portion of the water bar.

5. Clean Up More Often

Manure, hay and feed can play a big role in the creation of mud. By simply cleaning up paddocks, stalls, and other areas more often, you can cut down on some problem areas.

Get More Mud Control Ideas at Coastal

The folks at your Northwest Owned and operated Coastal have what you need to control mud, whether you’re raising goats and pigs or caring for equine and cattle. Stop by today and ask about Standlee products and other erosion-reducing ideas that work best in your region.