My hubby & I are in the beginning stages of becoming owners of a few chickens (4 is the number we have in mind). After looking at a gazillion photos of tractors and coops, I believe we are going to find that a small coop with an attached run is what will work best for us--reasons being we have no fenced area to let chickens out during the day, we live in a subdivison & doubt our neighbors would appreciate finding chickens in their yard, the area we plan to designate as the chicken area in at the back of our yard in a slightly wooded area where the ground is not entirely level, and lastly, we want the chickens to be able to enjoy being out of the coop in the daytime when we aren't able to watch over them every minute. I understand we need to make the run predator proof ( we have hawks, fox and cats, probably possums, too) so we've already decided on the deer netting or something similar for the top of the run, but what about the bottom? I've read about putting hardware cloth on the floor, but wouldn't this prevent the chickens from being able to scratch? I've also read about running the fencing (not the right word, I'm sure) that is used on the sides of the run about 2 ft out along the bottom edges of the run and burying it, but I'm afraid the ground may be too hard and full of roots from trees. Lastly, do chickens have to be locked up in the coop at night or allowed to go in and out when they please? If they have to be locked in, whe do they need to be let out? Sorry for the long post. TIA for the help I know will pour in!