I've posted my in-progress coop/run before, but have put part of it back on here to ask a couple of questions. I'm thinking about building another coop/run - now that I realize the construction errors I made with this one - plus I'm enjoying this, and am seriously thinking about getting into breeding a couple of specific breeds from egg to chicken - and have been going through the numerous coops submitted by other BYC members - wow! But the research has created a couple of questions - actually, one big question. Here's what I have so far - the run will be completed the next couple of days: The coop is 4' x 8', and the run is 8' x 8'. I have 13 hens, but probably going to add to the flock this summer. Now for the question: most of the coops pictured are built off the ground - most pre-built coops (which I've found are pricey!) are built off the ground. Is this for ease-of-cleaning purposes only, or is there something wrong with having the ground as the actual floor in the coop? I use hay on the ground and in the nesting boxes, and diatomaceous earth mixed with the hay on the "floor" of the coop. Now, a secondary question for the existing coop: the nesting boxes are a recycled book shelf cabinet I got from a going-out-of-business child care center - wish now I had bought both of them when I had the chance! Anyway, I had thought about using the bottom of the cabinet as a "brooding box" - here are a couple of close-up pics of the cabinet (sorry about the bird mess - this weekend is cleaning weekend!): The top part is, obviously, the nesting area - the book holes are 12" x 12" x 12"! You can see the bottom of the cabinet, but here's a better shot of it: The entire lower half of the cabinet is 4' wide x 3' deep, and just shy of 3' high, with a shelf (which the girls have been using as a roosting area). Didn't realize how dirty things have gotten until I decided to take these pics! Might have to start cleaning every other week, instead of a monthly schedule...anyway, here's a lower picture of the possible brooding box: Here's my thought: the back fell off the lower half of the cabinet as we were transporting it, so I thought I could enclose the back with hardware cloth, which will aid with ventilation. I can pick up a couple of cabinet doors from the Habitat For Humanity Re-Store, cut out the center panels, and replace those panels with hardware cloth - again for ventilation, primarily, but will also allow introduced birds and existing birds to be able to see each other during the growing process, reducing pecking order concerns. I've already hung the heat lamp in there a few nights when the nighttime temps were in the low 60s in what in this picture would be the top left corner. Add a small feeder and water fountain - brooding box! Does that make sense? This has nothing to do with the questions, but just had to include it! When I squatted down to take the pics, most of the girls lined up to see if I had brought them something! Ain't chicken raisin' fun? Thanks to everyone involved with BYC and these threads - certainly helps learning the process much easier! Have a great day, and God bless!