So I've decided to raise chickens. My three year old son wanted a "pet" of his own, and chickens seem much more useful than a hamster or goldfish. I've read a lot of the forums the last few days, and browsed other backyard chicken-type sites. While some of my questions have been answered, I still have others. Most of them involve the coop itself, so I hope no one minds if I post in this forum when some of my questions aren't about coops. With regards to a chicken coop, I understand that I should have 4 square feet per chicken. I want to have 4-6 hens so I'd need 24 square feet for the indoor portion. I'll probably build a 5' x 5' coop. What I'm wondering are what the internals of the coop need to have. I'm guessing it should be more than just four walls. For the outside, the place I'm planning on putting the coop will either be a barren run the our dogs have long ago turned into mud, or a spot that's mostly rock and gravel. What do I need to put down so that the chickens will have a good place to walk around, peck, and be chickens? How much sunlight should they get per day, and how cold can they handle? I'm in the Bay Area of California so it seldom dips below freezing and we have a few days in the 90s but very infrequently. I want chickens that are pretty mellow and lay good eggs. What breeds should I be looking at? Thanks!