Hello all! I'm new to chickens and we are starting small this year with three birds. I've been reading everything I can on this great site about housing but still can't figure out quite what to do for our situation, so thought I'd post this question. Friends gave us a very solid, well-built coop they no longer need, and we want to take advantage of it; we figure we can put money into expanding later after we've done some trial and error and have a better idea of what it's like to raise chickens. The coop is great but extremely heavy and therefore not practical to move, at least not often. We live in the country with lots of space, but total free ranging doesn't seem like a good option: aerial predators and dogs make daytime ranging iffy, and at night there's everything else (coyotes, bears, weasels, raccoons, possums, skunks, you name it). Neither are we sure we want to invest in tons of electric poultry netting, especially since it doesn't protect against aerial predators. We were thinking about building a simple movable 4x8 run that can be pushed back to the coop at the end of the day so the hens can be securely locked in the coop at night. Originally we were planning a hardware cloth bottom to the run, but after reading that it inhibits scratching, that doesn't sound so good anymore. But then how to protect the movable run against predators? People talk about doing "skirts" around the edge of runs, or burying fencing to discourage digging, but then it doesn't seem practical to move the run around. In other words, chicken tractors seem great for ranging but not so great for predator protection. Does that even matter very much during the day? Sometimes I find myself wondering if we should just build a sturdy permanent run attached to the coop, with all of the predator protections in place, but that seems a little silly when we have all of this acreage where they could eat fresh grass and bugs and all that good stuff! I feel like I must be missing something. How can I take advantage of the fact that I have a lot of space for chickens to roam while still keeping them safe from predators and making use of this coop I've been given? I would love to hear from other rural dwellers or anybody who sees a solution I'm missing! I have been doing so much googling my head is starting to spin! Thanks in advance.