Dear fellow chicken lovers, Hello! So glad to have found this most informative website! For years I've wanted to keep my own flock and now I finally have my own place. I want chickens for eggs and meat. Been doing tons of research for a long time and now feel comfortable enough to dive in and start building my coop. Just need some of the finer points ironed out before I start. Originally I wanted to build a big tractor to wheel around my gardens but as of late I decided it would probably suit my needs better if I had a real coop. I have a wide open sunny spot about an acre in size that's going to be my fruit and nut orchard. It will be fenced in to keep my goats and other animals out but I want the chickens to free range there. I feel it would be a lot easier to give them full run of the area than to pull the tractor around every day. I don't have a huge need to keep them penned up all the time in a tractor anyways because there is little chance of them straying off my property and we also don't have a huge predator problem around here either. I also want to keep 20 or 30 birds so I'll have extra eggs to sell. I've got a few orders already. So, I've all but decided on buying a used shed and converting it to a coop with an attached run for when I want them penned up. I found a good deal on a 10x20 dog pen for that. I was going to post an image here of the shed I'm interested in buying but BYC won't let me. Anyways it's a high gable barn style 10 x 10. I'd like to go this route because I want something that will be pleasing to look at, be built to last and be convenient for my family to deal with. I would consider going cheaper and building from scratch with reclaimed pallets or something but I don't have the time with my work schedule. This is something I can put together with minimal work that still fulfills my needs. The wife and kids are really excited to start collecting eggs and have some fun. I live in Florida. This is the "Sunshine State". It's hot and humid. The location I'm leaning towards for it's placement gets morning and afternoon sun but after midday will be nearly completely shaded. I figured that would be better than the opposite since it's usually cooler in the mornings. I also wanted the run to get sunlight so grass would grow in there. Will the chickens reduce it all to mud anyways? If so I guess I could put the whole thing in another spot that's completely shaded under trees but I liked the idea of it being more in the open so I could grow plants in and around the run that the chickens could nibble on and I felt it would be safer from predators lurking in the woods (although we don't seem to have too many). But just in case I am going to put down hardware cloth along the perimeter and cover the top of the run completely. We do have buzzards and hawks. I want to put a cupola on top and windows on all sides for ventilation. Do you think that would provide enough air movement in our climate? I've noticed most people down here have open air type coops. That may just be in greater part because it's cheaper to do it that way. Is it usually just the cold weather that motivates people to use the shed/barn style? I'm worried it still may be too hot even if I put windows on all sides. For my nesting boxes I'll build them into the two side walls accessible from the outside of course. Say five on one side and another dummy set on the other side for storage that could be turned into more nests if needed. I'm thinking of having a free standing A-Frame type roost in the middle with removable litter pans. I'm leaning towards using sand for bedding in the coop. We already have sandy soil so my run will be perfect as-is. Either side of the coop will be covered as will the front entrance so we don't get so wet when it's raining. I want a brooding box in there of course with it's own door to the run. I know that ideal max load for a coop this size is 20 or 30 hens. Would it be better to begin with just 4 or 5 and get a few more every year until I have 20 or should I start out with 20 to keep stress down? I want this coop to be everything our family needs, the complete chicken solution that is. Is there anything I'm missing?