My wife and I recently decided to raise some chickens. On youngest is off to college in the Fall and while we thought we'd be empty-nesters soon, we'll have a 'nest' full of chickens in the backyard to look after now. Our town only allows a maximum of 9 chickens, so that's what we got: 3 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Plymouth Rocks and 3 Gold Laced Wyandottes. So far, the chicks are doing great and will be 4 weeks old next week. They loving life in a large dog crate, which I've outfitted with a roosting bar and have them drinking from a nipple water on two old bicycle water bottles. Building a portable run out of PVC pipe is on this weekend's to-do list and a coop we ordered from a local builder should arrive in a week or so. Debating whether to do sand or straw in the enclosed run area of our coop. Pros can cons for both, I know, but we're leaning toward straw. Any suggestions? We're read a lot on this subject, but haven't made a final decision yet. But with the coop arriving in a week or so, if we do sand, I'd like to get it most of it down before the coop goes in. BTW...This site has been a great resource for us. We've learned so much here already.