We weren't able to clean out the coop last weekend because it was so rainy and muddy, and the girls haven't been getting nearly enough free-range time. This makes them kind of antsy. Plus, their feet and legs are really muddy and Peggy's beard is looking a bit scruffy.
When the first winter rain came in January, I ran out and got the girls a tarp to keep their run dry. It works fairly well, but if it rains hard, the dirt floor of the run definitely gets muddy.
We also drilled a hole in an old metal pie pan and put it above the hanging feeder, almost like an umbrella. Again, that works in a light rain, but a downpour still soaks their feed, turning it into a mushy cake. Luckily, Peggy and Tina don't seem to mind eating their food in mush cake form. I just have to clear it out pretty quickly so it doesn't mold.
I think after all these rains are over, we might look at ways to help with drainage around the coop, and we'll probably put gravel around the outside of the chicken enclosure, so it's not so muddy and slippery down there. A couple of weeks ago, I planted some more bushes below the coop, which should help absorb some of the run off.
Happily, there is at least one plus-side to the rain as far as the chickens are concerned: It should help the vine I put at the far end of the run grow bigger and bushier. Last Fall, I planted it as an attempt to provide shade and privacy while adding pleasant scent to the area. I chose a Vanilla Trumpet Vine, which is supposed to be well-suited to our climate and produces lots of fragrant, purple flowers. With all this rain, I'm hopeful that Sping will bring thick green foliage and lots of blossoms.
There's more rain in the forecast for this weekend and next week, which is great, as long as we have a long-enough break to get all the poop-soiled shavings out of the coop. I guess the hens will have to play indoors for a while. Maybe I should teach them tic-tac-toe.