I'm planning for a 12'x20' permanent run with attached coop for half a dozen hens and a rooster. Due to a major vegetable and herb garden and lots of wild hungry chicken eaters close by, free ranging is not an option at this point. I may come up with a small totally wired tractor run later that can be moved to various "new" spots for day trips. Our soil is rocky and sandy (river bottom) and the run location is shaded during the summer. Vegetation is sparse already. What, if anything, should I put down on the ground in the run to make the ladies more comfortable? I've thought about straw or shavings. Suggestions? We have a few snakes around as well. Big black snakes, and the occasional copperhead and moccasin. My plan is to apron with buried hardware cloth all the way around the run. How far up the sides do I need to go with hardware cloth to keep the snakes out? Or is a snake-proof run impossible? I killed a copperhead a few years ago right above my dad's sliding glass patio door. Sorry if this is old territory. I didn't see anything addressing these two issues. TIA.