We got 5 baby hens this spring. They are laying now. I am brand new at this. We are raising them in our backyard in an urban neighborhood. I feel like we are doing a lot wrong. My husband originally started the project with me but now isn't able to help. We have a big box, that has some sort if a door that I can open up. Then a whole cut out of the box that leads into an old chain link fence dog run which is our chicken run. My husband has some wood on top if the run to keep predators out. There are perches in the dog run that are outside, and that's what they've been sleeping on all summer long. They were just laying eggs outside in nests they made or found themselves (I go out every morning & open the run & let them out & they free range outside until it gets dusk then they walk back into the run on their own & I go shut the chain link dog kennel door. Now my husband made some nesting boxes that are under one of their perches. Although the boxes have a top, it's not the best idea because the birds poop all over the top of the nesting boxes. The nesting boxes aren't very good. They don't have privacy, they don't like them. They use one that they kicked in and modified themselves to get privacy & they all fight over it. I just feel like we are doing this all wrong & not providing the best place for them? The "coop" which is essentially a box is not being used. They don't even go into it. They sleep outside in the run. With winter coming, will that be bad? We don't always get snow here bit sometimes we do & we get a lot if rain. The run is under nice big trees & stays pretty dry however. And also the run is such a poopy mess. Should I be scooping that all out? Or throwing straw or hay on top of it all? How can I easily convert this box into a coop with nesting boxes & perches? With little help & tools? I can take pictures & post too if this helps. Thanks everyone.