I was thinking of a covered run but you're right, it may not be practical to cover the whole run. I hadn't really thought of that. Perhaps I will only cover half of the run or something.
And thank you for the great information! Seems like we'd need a lot of sand then but we have a sand and gravel place nearby.
Although I found out about the deep litter thing after I read this and that seem great too and we certainly have plently of woods to take material from. What do you think is better, sand or the deep litter thing with leaves and compost type thing in the run?
I have sand in my covered run, in a rainy winter climate. I do cover the lower sides with plastic in the winter to block rain and wind, and it works.
I fully agree with covering at least 1/2 of your run in your climate, perhaps you can cover the rest at a later date, if needed.
If you're run is in the shade, make it a clear/smoke covering. If it gets sun in the summer, make it a light colored solid roofing material.
Personally, with a partially open run, I'd use an informal deep litter method. Just make it like the forest floor in there!
Start with some wood chips from a tree company. They make a great base. 4" plus if possible!
(You could even add some of these to your current run, now. They are even sturdier than pine shavings.)
Then throw in leaves, pine needles, anything. Get it to at least 6". The chickens will stir it all up.
I have a secondary uncovered run for my chickens for daytime only. This is what I do in there, and while it gets wet, there is no mud. And believe me, there IS mud under there, but the debri keeps it covered up.
The girls working a pile of leaves
Edited by lynnehd - 2/14/16 at 11:04am