We are thinking of getting chickens and want to figure out some details before we commit. I have (briefly) lived with chickens before when the owners were abroad when I was a teen. We lost a bunch due to predators We were thinking of a small number of chickens... 3? 4? and they cannot free range because I have two crazy dogs (one alone could be trained but together they are way crazier. I don't trust them) and kids who forget what they are doing and apologise later. I could see them opening the back door and letting the dogs out when the chickens were out and that would be that. We also have a lot of visitors to our garden. A brazen raccoon decided to fish in our neighbors' pond every night despite their dog and tries to get in the dog door of another home to get the dog food. Possums are frequent guests as are skunks and rats (sometimes during the day too). The dogs chase anything they see but they are also a pain at night with charging around and barking furiously at every leaf that falls off a tree so they go outside when they ask and otherwise are in with us. So I need something that is plenty safe from both dogs and wildlife. We are also gone a lot in the evening with sporting activities for the kids. so questions... 1) If we got a coop with a small integrated run is it safe for the coop to be open to the run 24/7 so long as it is well secured and dig resistant and hardware cloth is firmly attached? I'm not sure I could guarantee being around at sunset every night or even most nights. 2) We are handy and have plenty of tools and building experience but are a little burned out on building stuff lately, we are not opposed however to changing locks, beefing something up etc so I'm looking to buy a ready made coop. As much as I'd love a fancy pretty little thing my DH will not go along with the chicken thang if I spend too much. What about this? http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-66-Delu...552?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4858215fe0 is it a bunch of junk? I am looking for something neat and easy to take care of. If we got something like that and put it on paving slabs and fixed it down and secured all openings could that function as an open coop? 3) What about plastic coops? Do determined predators chew through them? Thank you!