Well, my story is, my mother wants chickens, and after doing all the research into them and all, I want them even more. We don't want that many, she wants maybe 3-4, and I would like more like 4-5. So 4 is probably the ideal number we're looking at. We are planning on just having them free range in the backyard. The only predators we really need to worry about are coyotes, and that's fine if we keep the chickens shut in at night. It's southern california, but fairly temperate. Doesn't get too hot nor too cold. And I was neck deep in plans for coop construction when it occured to me. We have an old barrel just sitting around that we don't know what to do with. The barrel is an old wooden one, about 2 feet wide and about a meter tall. My thoughts were to cut off one end of the barrel and turn it into a door (the bindings are appropriately spaced for it.) then cut the chicken's door into that, and have a window for ventalation in the top and the bottom of the two faces. The feeder I was thinking of doing somewhat like those pvc feeders you see people make, only with the main body of it sticking outside the coop to save space. The waterer one of those little automatic dog waterers, in a box jutting out the side with just the water dish inside the coop. The nesting box I was thinking of just sitting on the opposite side of the barrel from the water dish, for symmetry. But that's just a stylistic thing I'm not too certain about. The barrel will obviously be on its side, and propped up on stilts with a ramp going down. And I will be painting it to waterproof and weatherproof any gaps that might exist. My two main concerns are: 1) The floor will be rounded. Even with woodshavings covering the floor, would this be too hard on the chicken's feet? I have some laminate I could put down as a floor, but would could remove some of my already scarce height. 2) it's a barrel, so it's only about as tall as it is wide. In other words, not terribly. Would that be too claustrophobic for the chickens to use their perch(s)? Which I would probably do either one across the length, or two across the width. Probably about right at the middle level, though I'm tempted to do lower. I haven't had chickens since I was like... 6, and I don't recall the practical application of any of this too well. I've read in one place that chickens need a minimum of 1 square foot each in the coop though, and somewhere else a minimum of 2-3 square feet. I figure this should stick me in the 3-4 chickens range fairly nicely. (main reason I want maybe one more is that I want to order from mypetchicken.com, and they have minimum order sizes depending on location.) It's not too big a deal if it wont work, but it would be so much cuter than a typical coop I think. I have some diagrams, but I want to refine them. So I'll post them perhaps after I (hopefully) get some very nice constructive feedback. I'd love to use this barrel for SOMETHING besides just ornamentation. Thanks!