And this little secret will turn
If you have any livestock at all, mud is a fact of life. Especially here in the Willamette Valley, where we are having a record setting spring for precipitation.
Horses can be the worst of offenders because of their weight, habits and their wide hooves which act like plungers on the soil.
Years ago a friend who ran a horse rescue gave us a tip which we have capitalized on for many wet winters. Rubber stall mats. The kind you would line horse trailer floors or cement floored stalls with.
Lay them right on the soil, BEFORE the mud begins.
If you lay them out after the mud gets deep, the mats will migrate and sink. Like this one did. They still keep the mud down but they don't work as well as they can if you put them down while it is still dry out.
Stall mats are a bit expensive, around $35 on sale but they last forever and make you and your animals life so much better. They're mobile so you can take them elsewhere when you need to. Albeit a little like wrestling a giant stinky eel, if you have to move them in winter.
They are made of recycled tires and last forever. We have some that are 14 years old. They don't smell so great, but they do the job.
Buck and I invested a bit of money last fall on setting up our loafing shed and the accoutrement that go with having a sturdy and safe area for livestock. At the top of the list and worth every dime were several stall mats.
They also make it extremely easy to clean out the shed with a flat shovel. Then we just hose it off. It always helps if you have situated your shed and pasture on slightly higher ground, so that you have good drainage.
Gates are a funnel for increased foot traffic.
Water and food troughs are always a real vortex of mud too.
Here are a few of the websites I have found useful in my battle with mud.
Pennsylvania State University "Nutrient Management"
Oregon State University Small Farm
Tips on Land and Water Management for Small Farm and Livestock owners