We have a neighborhood bear with a taste for chickens. We are still determined to start a flock, but are having trouble deciding between a few different strategies. One neighbor has had luck with an electric fence and the other (who lives farther from the bear) has had no problems free ranging her birds inside her fence with protective dogs. One of our main goals (other than eggs and amusement) is to have our chickens eat the profuse ticks in our fenced backyard, so they need to be either in the yard or next to the yard. Electricity seems like the obvious choice, but if the coop is in the yard, it will shock the dogs. But the birds seem so vulnerable outside the fence, even with electricity and a strong run/cage. We see coyotes just beyond the fence regularly. To the bear's credit, he has never left any evidence of being on our property despite stinky compost and occasionally forgetting to close the garage where our garbage cans are located. (He has, however, eaten an entire flock about 1.5 -2 acres from where our coop would be.) We currently only have a 4-foot perimeter fence, but could heighten it. Our dogs are quite alert and love to chase off intruding wildlife. Regardless of location, we want a very sturdy coop and run. We are debating between an expanded version of the Garden Coop plans (http://www.thegardencoop.com/chicken-coop-plans.html) or the Clark Farm Salt Box design inside a large run. http://www.clarkfarmbusiness.com/Chicken-Coops.html We also love the "Eggplant" coop on this site, but feel it would lose a lot of it's charm inside a run. I'm wondering if anyone has any insight into what might be the best placement and design for our set up. We want the chickens in the yard, but don't want hot wire in the yard. It's a huge area, so electrifying the perimeter fence would be too expensive. In case it matters, we plan to have 8 to 10 birds and don't have extreme weather to consider in our area in terms of coop design (snows occasionally). Thank you!!