I have had chickens for 5 years free roaming in the yard, which is just under an acre. I have 8 girls right now, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Production Brown, 1 Easter Egger (Araucana), 1 Barred Plymouth Rock, 1 Red Star, 1 Light Brahma, and 1 Iowa Blue. I have to constantly modify my environment to accommodate my girls, and I love every minute of it. Last week a red Tailed Hawk tried to take my biggest and oldest hen, but she fought back like a champ and screamed loud and long, giving my husband time to get out there and save her. That hawk had no fear, and DH had to knock it off with a golf club. We kept Dolly, our old girl, in a cage in the kitchen all week, but the weather today and tomorrow here east of Houston is mild, so we put her out to get some air and she's doing better. I have lost chickens to dogs and hawks before, and it's always terrible. Yet I do not want to lock them up, instead hoping that they will stay happier out in the yard. We have a fence around our yard, and they have a safe coop, and we are home to listen out for them most days. I so enjoy going out back and having them follow me around like a mother chicken to the shed, the garden, and then back to the house, their quiet little step step step behind me in the grass, If I walk up to the back door while inside, I see them see me, and come running to see if I have a treat. I have had to put a rail around my porch, because I was tired of poop everywhere, and so now the porch is mine again, but they still will hop up on the rail and look in the back door on mornings when I am busy and I don't bring them a treat.They actually know mw, as I have kids that go out and they scatter, when I go out, they gather. I love putting on my rubber boots and going out to clean the coop, feed my girls and carry them around the yard. Oh, and I have a steady stream of eggs. My 5 year old Dolly, a Red Star, still lays an egg every day, as do my 3 year old Reds and my brown.