I have 7 hens - 5 sex-links (3 black, 2 red) and 2 black silkies. I got all of them this weekend and have been letting the silkies out during the day. I haven't let the sex-links out yet because I want them to see the coop as home before they get the opportunity to fly off. The coop is 9' x 5' and I fenced off a large area for them with chicken wire - I'm not sure of the exact size of their pasture but it's about 80 x 60 feet, fenced off with 3' chicken wire. Over the weekend I was comfortable letting the silkies out but with work tomorrow I'm not feeling comfortable letting them out. Not that I could save them from a hawk while inside doing the dishes but it feels like I'm abandoning them if I'm gone for eight hours. I haven't seen any, but I'm sure there are predators around here (coyotes, foxes etc). I live in a rural / forested / agricultural area. I would be less worried about the sex-links as they are bigger, stronger and can fly away. The silkies would not even be able to enter the coop right now as the door is closed to keep the sex-links in. I'm leaning toward keeping them all indoors while I'm at work, at least until they can all be out. The other options I can think of would be to plan some shrubs and such to give them cover, to build a small tractor for them to get fresh air and grass while I'm at work, get an outside dog to protect them (which seems like more trouble than it's worth), get a rooster (but then I get fertile eggs and I wouldn't want my family to find chicken embryos in their eggs!). I'm new to this if you can't tell And would appreciate some guidance. Thanks!