Hi Guys! City girl going Country, here LOL. My country boy BF and I are in disagreement about something and I figured that the quickest answer would be from you professional chicken people. I've noticed other chickens free ranging in various parts of our county and to me it seems like they prefer to be near some type of cover or the edge of the woods or a bush, etc. I am ASSuming that they instinctively do this because they "know" that Hawks or whatever might see them and swoop down and munch. So they like to be near something that would provide a cover or quick hiding spot. I could be wrong. What he did was allowed all 8 of our chickens to free range in the backyard, (while I wasn't there) instead of putting them in their temporary run and and we have LOTS of predators around. I was perturbed. I don't want to lose any of them. When I got home I saw that they were all underneath their coop (where their dropping are). I don't think it's healthy for them to be LAYING in their droppings and eating whatever is under there. (we do clean it out every few days) He seems to think it's ok? Am I nuts? He said they were all under there because of the old feed that was down there (yuck?) and bugs. I told him that since they weren't in their temporary pen which has partial cover, that they went under there for protection cuz they don't like being out in the open sky. I'm sorry for this long post. I feel silly, but how are we supposed to learn of we don't ask questions. Thanks for any information. Big chicken hugs to all... LOL... EDIT: Can't they get sick from laying in their droppings?