we are moving from the "burbs" to 20acres, on a mountain-ten miles from electricity. With things on the way to crapville(economy, gas and grocery prices, etc) we are on our way to depending on NOBODY for our exsistance. Little does my small flock of hens realizes they are about to embark on a 3 hr drive and to a new coop. Or that I plan on purchasing about a dozen more hens to ensure PLENTY of protein in our diet. The coop we currently have, I pieced together when I started with 4 or so hens. Now I have 12 hens and I let them roam free 24/7 with 24/7 access to the coop. The biggest thing they need to worry about getting them here is our Mastiff, when tries to steal their "treats" I give them each morning. Our "burb" house has a 6ft privacy fence. I plan on making them a HUGE coop, out in the sticks, but I would like to let them have run of the place. I am not sure that it can be done with out feeding the local wildlife too, ie chicken dinner. Do I REALLY need a run? How big should it be so they do not peck each other to death(right now they are EXTREMELY happy, this I know because I have had a hen get sick and they actually helped her!!INstead of taking advantage of her an pecking her to death) How do I cover the run if it is large? How large is large? What can I make it out of that is sturdy and cheap? I need to emphasize STURDY!! If you have ever had a Mastiff you know they like to LEAN HEAVILY on anything large enough to support their weight (you the car the house a garden fence that was build to keep the chickens out)and if it can't support the weight, well then they look at whatever they just "leaned over" and look at it as if to say "well! thats what you get for building something that wasn't strong enough to hold up my mammoth girth" I really don't want to build the coop/run twice, so building it right the first time is my goal. Thanks everyone.