So my husband and I are buying a house, its actually the house next door so I get to stare at it all day and contemplate where my chicken/rabbit pens will go. To pass time I am always mapping out "plans" for different things I want. This time though I didn't create something that we couldn't actually build. I tend to go overboard lol. I don't know if this link will work, it is my "blue prints" for my chicken/rabbit pens. (for the record I absolutely LOVE this site) http://fbi.icovia.com/default.aspx?projGuid=F76478DE-CEFE-4482-A809-646AB6CE85D5 You may have to copy and paste into your browser. I tried to figure out a way to post the actual picture but I couldn't find it if it is possible. My husband gave me the okay on building it but since I have never built my own pens and am just getting by with the one we have now, I would like everyone's advice on must haves or absolute no no's. As far as being practical and convenient for daily chores. And average price, I want it done right and to look nice but its not going to be Overly expensive where we could go with cheaper materials that work the about the same. My husband wants a price quote so I need to figure out what I will be using etc. I am not sure what netting to put on the top of the runs, we don't have the WORST winters but it isn't uncommon to have a yearly storm that gives us a foot of snow maybe more. I don't want the snow to tear up my netting or whatever I have on the roof of the runs. I would like something that could hold up to the snow but isn't the most expensive out there. We don't have a problem as of now with flying predators but I would like it there just in case. Also as far as shade goes, in the evenings all pens will have plenty of shade but during the heat of the day there won't be any shade. What can I put up as far as shade that will look nice? I thought about a wood roof over part of the run but I wasn't sure if there was any other great ideas. The runs will be built with pipe if that matters and there will be pipe "beams"? going across the top that will help keep the netting up. Also, should I go ahead and lay sand throughout the whole run? I imagine they will eat the grass down to dirt anyway, even though they will have a turnout yard. If I made it half sand half grass would my grass in the runs stand a better chance, or will it just be a lost cause. The straight runs will be 6' wide X 20' long X 6' High at the lowest points of the run. Inside it will be 6' x 5' (even though in the plans they aren't as wide, I just didn't feel up to changing it at the moment) There will be a 3' walkway in between the inside pens, with doors going into each one so I can collect eggs, clean, etc. Without letting all the cool/warm air out. My rabbits and chickens as it is aren't fairing well in this heat so they will have an a/c heater unit so I can keep the temps inside reasonable, without working myself to the bone like I am now. (the brooder area is at the opposite end of the A/C to limit the amount of cool air that gets to them. I was thinking painted sheet metal for the outside of the building, to help with warping etc. Is that completely insane? It won't be just a metal building I will have wood on the inside but put the metal on the outside to help keep the wood safe from the elements and maybe add another layer to keep the heat in/out. I haven't added a shelter to the plans for the "rooster" pen but there will be one. This pen hopefully won't be used to much, but if I have roosters/cockrells that I don't want breeding anything or I am selling/giving away etc I can seperate them from the rest. The "breeding pens" won't be used in the winter months either. The "chick pen" will double as a brooder inside until they are old enough to venture outside, then the door will be opened for them. Oh inside, the pens will be solid wood up about 3' and chicken wire the rest of the way up to help with airflow. Ignore the rabbit side of the plans lol. I am not showing or breeding anything right now, but have full intentions to when I am set up for it. But I would rather build for it now then later on wish I had. Please remember I'm not a professional so my demensions etc may be off on this first draft. Also if you would like to add things that you wish you had done with your pen/coop... or things you wish you hadn't done and why would be awesome. I really don't want to spend the money it is going to take to build this... then figure out that I made a "rookie" coop building mistake and hate it. lol Oh I don't know if it matters but we will start with the building, and 1 chicken run and 1 doe run and keep building from there. If you read this much of my rambling... Thank You!