My chicken was lonely after loosing 5 chicks to respititory infections a few weeks ago. I got her three girls two weeks ago and then I got a knock on the door last night and my husband surprised me with 5 , 3mth old chicks ( beautiful) anyway he also tells me to go buy a new coop in the morning from the guy we got our last coop from. The coop is 4x5 with 5 nesting boxes and a perch. Its about 4ft off the ground and our chickens run free in a large fenced area durning the day. We have massive tree coverage so they also run around in the yard too. Anyway for the last two nights the 5 new chickens are in the fenced chicken yard durning the day but we lock them in a pen in our shed at night. Tomorrow I am going to buy another coop and put them side by side in the yard. Now here is what I need to know I have been using hay for bedding and clean out the coop every few days because I am a clean freak. The hay isn't degrading into the ground. So what else can I use as bedding that will not harm my girls but degrade over time in the yard? Also do I need bigger coops or is two coops the same size good for 9 hens? I was thinking about buying a plastic dog house to put the feeders in to keep them dry but out of the coops.....is that a good idea?