I have went from green grass to bare soil almost before our eyes since introducing my hens to the fenced run area. I now have a fenced and roofed florida room attached to the coop to pen the birds for shelter and for short periods when we are away. I believe they will prefer this enclosed run area during the winter months. The idea of planting winter rye is a great suggestion for me as I live in Michigan. Rye grass is a good starter for other grass seed and helps it germinate quicker as the rye grass dies out. I know this from personal experience. I will mix in some other healthy grass seed that should germinate before spring if I am lucky. Keeping the birds primarily in the florida room over the winter will help to get a new growth of green going for me. Once the snow flys I will let them have the use of both. Dont want them to get cabin fever!! I have been giving my hens a cabbage to peck at while they are in season. One whole cabbage will get devoured in a days time! I have lost 2 birds to predators and have backed off on the idea of free ranging for now. We just purchased an australian sheperd puppy and hope he will adapt to watching over the flock. Thanks for the tips on winter rye.