Hi, I have a covered run of about 12 by 15 ft and the coop and run is 3 years old. My 8 chickens don't get out so much (about 1/2 hour most non-rainy days) and I don't like the idea that I have a fairly toxic run. It only occurred to me lately that I should have put something down like sand etc. in the run when I made it but don't have access to that right now. I just got 6 bales of dry hay (no straw around here) and I intend to start putting some down. A friend said she used to do this and each day put a bit more down and sometimes sprinkling lime before she did. Here are my questions: for the initial layer of hay should I just pull it off in squares and lay them down like tiles and then throw loose hay on top? Or should I just put a whole bunch of loose hay down? Is that liming idea o.k.?? It seems like it wouldn't be good for the chickens to walk on nor to eat. Should I put diatomaceous earth down too? (I saw someone said something about hay/straw helping breed lice) I know from reading this forum that hay is not considered the best choice but my run is covered and I just don't have access to anything else right now. It just seems like the run might smell less and be healthier for the birds if I did it in the manner of a deep litter system adding a bit every day or so. I also hope to get some of that manure for my garden when I clean it out instead of just building up toxic soil in the run. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I would like to do it very soon. thanks.