I have been doing some researching but everything seems to be aimed more towards people who have runs that are covered. I have two pens that don't free range with the rest of the chickens, one is a bachelor pad and the other is my Silkie pen. They have one of those metal storage buildings for a coop, but the rest of the run is not covered. We have netting over the run, but no roof. I live on a hill and usually it's not a huge issue, but this last year we have had LOTS of flooding in the area, just last week we got 8 inches in a little over a 24 hours period. It looked like a river in my back yard. And unfortunately, my coop is not in a very good spot. Not that I had many other options... but needless to say, we have mud in these two runs. SO MUCH MUD. And since these two pens do not free range, I gotta do something. We recently dug a drainage ditch to divert the water from just flowing down into the run like a waterfall, but the ground is just so saturated anyways that it does not make much difference in the long run. I have been using pallets in the muddiest part of their run so that they at least have a dry surface to hang out on. But that is not really a long term solution.
I keep reading about shavings and mulch for a deep litter in the run to help get rid of stink and keep the chickens out of the mud and still allow them to scratch around. From what I read it sounded like most everyone had a covered run tho, so it was not raining directly on top of this deep litter they were using. So my question is: Does anyone know what I could put down in a run that is NOT covered, that would help shield them from the mud but still be okay to get rained on? I don't want to put down a bunch of stuff only to find out that I have made a big mistake lol.
I have about 30 bags of red lava rock I bought for a project a few years ago and decided to do something different, so I have been trying to find a place to use the lava rock for ages, but I just don't think rock is going to help my situation any as the rocks would just get smooshed down into the mud. There used to be a barrier of railroad ties around the run, but the rain has washed enough dirt down the hill that the top of the tie is level with the dirt now. I have even thought about making a retaining wall, but I am afraid the water will continue to do what it does now and seep up from below. Even if I add more soil to the run to elevate it, I feel like it will all get washed down hill.
Any comments or suggestions are welcomed. If needed I can try to take some pics of the run later. Thanks!