We will be getting 5 girl sex links soon & we're working on building the coop. But one question I have is should we lock them up in the coop at night/whenever we're gone? They're not going to be free range as far as being able to run around our yard but their coop will be attached to a huge run of probably about 30'x30' (still playing around with the actual size). I've been doing some reading on predator proofing so here is what the run/coop will have: *enclosed top w/ hardware cloth *sturdy run door w/ concrete poured into a trench below the bottom of the door frame (or pavers if we're not able to afford the concrete & if we go the paver route we will run a hardware cloth apron off the pavers) *the rest of the run will have hardware cloth buried at least 1 foot in the ground & a hardware cloth apron stretching outward of about 1 to 2 feet *All doors will have predator proof latches but I still can't figure out what the best latches to get are *the coop will be elevated off the ground & the entire underfloor will be covered with hardware cloth *the coop will be inside the run for extra protection* *we've thought about covering the run halfway up with pet window screen (run height will be 6' so the screen would go 3' up & will go over the hardware cloth) to block outside view of them so predators can't see them. Is this a good idea or would the chickens hate it? Is there anything we're not thinking of as far as predator proofing? But back to my original question about locking them in the coop: Since they would have this big run to be in all the time, is it safe for them to have 24/7 access to the run or should we still lock them up in the coop at night/whenever we're gone even though the coop is inside an enclosed run? We work 8 hour shifts so I would hate to have to lock them up at night and for an additional several hours while we're at work. They should be safe in the pen without being locked up in the coop at certain times shouldn't they? Thanks guys!!