My roommate and I are considering delving into the chicken hobby, but I thought I would try and learn a bit before coop construction begins. We have a loft in our garage that could easily be wired in and made chicken-friendly. This lost opens up to the back yard, with about 4 feet of difference between the bottom of the door and the grass. Our initial intent was to construct a ramp up to the coop and build a small outdoor enclosure at the base of the ramp. With the blessing of our immediate neighbors, we hoped to allow the chickens free reign of the back yard during the day. Our concerns are: - The back yard is not fenced in. I read that chickens don't like to roam further than they can see their coop -- is there any truth to this? the coop is not visible from the street and it would be located ~250 feet away from the street. Would we still be at risk for chicken roadkill? - With some training and adjustments, will the chickens automatically return to the coop around sundown, or will there be some sort of wrangling involved? - If we decide on bantam chickens, will they be able to withstand the potentially harsh winter of upstate New York? Thanks!