When I first planned on getting chickens I did my research, built my tractor, and got 4 young hens to start my adventure. Since then "chicken math" has taken over. I now have 5 "keeper" laying hens and 2 broody pens. I'm picking up some 8-12 roosters tomorrow and will hopefully pick a quality roo and send the rest to freezer camp. I have been letting my girls out in the yard while I'm home. They stay close while I'm in the house and get brave when me and the dog go outside. I have noticed they seem more content when they have their "outside" time. This has made me re-evaluate my plan. While I don't want them out when I'm away from the house or out to work I do think their happiness is worth the risk of predators. I work 24hr shifts and normally work once every 4 days so they will get plenty of outside time and I will keep moving the tractor for their cooped up grazing. The next step is to build a smaller "chicken door" so they can get back in but varmits can't get in. Does anyone else feel this way? How you weigh the risks? Happier hens vs. predators.