I haven't purchased my chicks yet, as I'm waiting to find out if it's legal in my town. However, I'm starting to plan my coop and run anyway. Better to be prepared, right? The area I have chosen is behind my house in a space that used to be a vegetable garden. It's surrounded on 4 sides by chain link fence about 4 ft. high, and there is no gate. I had trouble measuring out the dimensions today, as it's a weird shape and there's a lot of weeds blocking my access to the back fence. Judging by my estimations of the back fence and accurate measures of the other 3, I have a space that is approximately 234 square feet. Here's a sketch of the shape, with the estimated length in red. Essentially, my plan is to put either chicken wire or hardware cloth over the chain link fence and joints to make a more impermeable barrier. I want to rig the cloth or wire to cover the enclosure, too, but at a height I can walk under to clean the coop and run. So here are my issues: How can I rig the wire to cover the run at a height I can walk under? I want to cover it so I can leave the girls out in it during the day. Where in the pen should I place the coop? Is this enough space for 5 hens? I think so, but I want to be sure. Is that telephone pole a problem? Should I cover it with something to protect the girls from the chemicals? Will barking dogs harass the hens? I can put plywood or another cover over the fence so the dogs can't see them. Would a slightly elevated coop with two or three nest boxes be acceptable? How deep should I bury my wire under the ground to deter critters? In the 6' 2" gap where there's no gate, what sort of gate would be best? I have no idea how to build something that fits tight enough to keep unwanted visitors out. There's a honeysuckle vine on the wall between the dog run and the chicken area. Will that be a problem? Will the girls eat it, do you think? Should I make a composting area for waste, or throw it out? How does that usually work? Other than that, I think the space is pretty perfect. I want to dig out the dirt and lay some gravel with sand over top of it for a drier footing. I'm also thinking about making a temporary fence that can be moved when not in use to span the space between the corner of the house and the chainlink fence (23' on the left of the picture) to make an enclose "free ranging" area around the big pine tree. We don't use the space, and it's full of leaves and pine cones and other good stuff that the hens might like to dig around in. Help! I'm brand new to chickens, and I want to get it as correct as I can on the first go-around. Thanks!