Greetings from NW Washington, near the site of "The Egg and I" novel, in the foothills of the Olympic Mt Range.
DW thought we should raise chickens, part of our broad effort to get "off the grid," and more independent in case the world gets more "unbalanced." I hesitated but not for long. I took our surplus materials from a new sunroom (yeah, we get some sun up here!) for passive solar heat, and had a ball building a 4x8' coop with 15x15' run. All done except for the metal roof, but tar papered plywood is working for now. And some buried hardware cloth around the fence. BYC members had super tips on coop building, many of which I used. Thanks!
Managed to find some young layers in late October, 2008: 2 R.I. Reds and 3 Golden sex-links. Got about 3 eggs/day, enough for the two of us. First day with the girls, two bald eagles flew over and surely saw the newbies, so I got some fish netting from a local gillnetter, plenty to cover the run. We also have 'coons, coyotes, owls, hawks, even cougars, bobcats and bears in the area which is mostly wooded and wild. Raccoons got all 5 last winter, so I raised 6 chicks in spring of 2010. Two each of RIR, Barred Rocks and Ameraucanas. The latter still not laying as of 12/29!
Just coincidentally, we live on a side road to Chicken Coop Road, between Blyn and Gardiner, WA. Fun story about that. In the 1930's, a family built a large (almost house-sized) coop, with help of all the neighbors. After the "barn raising," they all decided to celebrate with a barn dance. The dance event was so popular, they made a weekly party of it each weekend -- and never did get any chickens! Still, the road was named after the coop! I don't know when they stopped using it as a dance hall, but it's now too decrepit for any use and the local volunteer fire department is about to burn it down in a training exercise.
Here's a pic of THE chicken coop/dance hall