Hi there, My name is Amanda. I have an animal-mad little girl called Saoirse, 2 boys (less keen on animals), a geriatric, gentle basset hound, and Himself, who is not keen on animals but we'll ignore that... We live in a small city house with a small walled back garden - mainly paved and a deck of old railway sleepers and gravel paths with a few 4' square raised flower beds that step down towards the kitchen... I love the idea of chickens, but our garden is small. The hound cannot be bothered to chase anything, but his presence keeps the neighborhood cats out of the garden. He likes company. There are urban foxes around these parts but I have never seen one in our garden or our road. We have been looking at silkies, because S would love to cuddle a small animal (though the hound would always get more hugs) and I'm hoping they would be happy in a small space. We babysat a friends guinea pigs for a couple of weeks. S loved having them, but I am not keen on rodents in general, and I am not sure that the guinea pigs were that happy tbh (kept in a cage and grabbed daily for a cuddle...) Eggs would be nice, but not the main reason for having the chickens. So I was thinking of this coop http://www.inthemarket.ie/acorn-chicken-coop/ I have a builder who can adapt it to suit the space (add a step down to the run to allow the run space over 2 levels, raise perches etc.) For 2-3 silkies, which I would put in the raised flower beds - so the ramp would come out of the coop, they would have the upper flower bed to mooch around in, and could hop down to the lower one too. That area of the garden is sheltered by old stone walls, bamboo and a willow tree and it is slug city. Things grow in the flower beds but they are usually eaten by slugs and snails. I am planning to give the willow tree a bit of a hair cut, and sow meadow flowers now. Sometime after Xmas, I would put up the coop, and then buy some chicks around easter time. There isn't space in the garden for the coop to be moved around - if I moved it anywhere, it would have to be onto a stone patio. I work from home, and the kids are home in the afternoons, so the chickens could free range a lot, but I wouldnt be able to leave them unsupervised as I would be worried about next doors cat. They would be locked in at night. We live in Ireland, so the climate is damp - it rains every day pretty much, but usually not heavy rain. This is the plan so far... please free free to pick holes in it. I do not want to keep any pet in misery. I would like to know about smell - would there be about as much smell from a couple of silkies as a couple of guinea pigs? I plan to change the sawdust in the bottom of the coop daily, and clean out the coop at the weekends. What about flies? How do you keep the run area clean (so it doesn't attract flies)? Many thanks in advance for your help, Amanda ps. Himself can be talked around, so long as the chickens are not too inconvenient.