Hi fellow chicken folk (and other poultry and livestock enthusiasts) I'm brand new to chickens, and in fact, don't HAVE them yet. I'm still putting together the coop (painting it) and need to make the run. The birds will be arriving in September. I've been a 4H mom, when my children did dairy goats, I've had Toulouse Geese (glorious eggs, but they hated me, so I re-homed them), and now it's time for my own chickens and some home grown eggs. DH is supporting me in my goal, but will not be helping me at all, so it's all me... I have 1 cat right now, and I'm an RVT working in a small animal general practice. l have a few friends with poultry knowledge whose brains I can pick, but I know I need more feedback than just them, which is why I joined here. I've got some good books by Gail Damerow on chicken care, so I think I'm set as far as that's concerned, but I DO have some predator concerns that I will be posting about. My goal is to avoid as many problems as I can by practicing good husbandry. I need to repair the side gate so the girls can be out and about with me when I'm gardening in the back yard. They will be in their run 90% of the time, though, due to predator concerns. I've seen raccoons, possum, and skunks at our house. I have not seen (at my house), but I know they're in the area, foxes, bobcats and mountain lions. My main concern is the raccoons, as I know 'ours' to be large, and I know they're smart and persistent and always hungry.