Hello, I'm building my first chicken coop in the backyard and I need some advice. Its size is 48" by 55". Upper area will be the sleeping part with roosting (height 24" + roof). Ladder at the back goes down to dirt + sand (height also 24"). I live in La Mesa (San Diego) California so weather is very nice (min avg 45, max avg 82 according to homefacts.com). The coop will be located next to wooden fence (about 6-7 ft high), 1 tree on left and 1 tree on right and next to the right tree is a storage building. Questions 1. How many chickens? Upper area is 17 sqft. Lower area is another 17 sqft. I would think four to eight but four may be more comfortable for everybody. What do you think? 2. Where should I put the waterer/feeder? I will lift the waterer off ground - if I put on lower area, it will create more room in the upper area but that means they can't drink for almost 12 hours (6pm dark to 6am morning). If I put on upper area, it will mean less space but I guess it will have to do, right? 3. Predator protection. I don't expect bears or wolves but I may expect mice/rats, skunks, cats (2 neighbors have a cat each), dogs (neighbor has 2 small dogs), hawks/etc, racoons maybe? opossum? My neighbor once told us she saw a coyote nearby at 5am walking on street. How about snakes? I hope not. So I read about installing hardware cloth on the bottom, bend it and lay it on the ground to prevent diggers going in. Will this work? 3b. Do I also need to install poultry fence under the bedding and also on the roof just in case? 3c. Do I install plywood cover over the poultry fence on the upper area, for more safety at night (but less ventilation)? 4. Wood sealing against water and another against bugs/termite/mold. Do I need these? they cost plenty ($15 + $25 for a gallon). 5. Do I need to provide light/lamp in the upper area of coop? Baby chicks will be in the house (garage) with heating lamp but once they get older they will be put in the coop (backyard). I heard that by providing light they may lay more eggs but if the energy or light is cut they might be shocked. What do you think? 5b. When can I transfer chickens to backyard coop? (at what age) So many questions, I apologize. Take your time if you can . Thank you for any answers.