We're first-time chicken owners and spent lots of time researching the best way to create a safe space for the hens. We purchased a custom-built 4'x8' coop from a local, reputable company and then built the run ourselves. The run is 8'x8' (the chickens will also have access underneath the coop), with three sides enclosed in hardware cloth (actually, the bottom 4' on each side is covered with a double layer of hardware cloth). The roof is a double layer of poultry netting. The floor is also completely enclosed with hardware cloth, then covered with 2" of pea gravel and 3" of washed construction sand. We're planning to get some deep litter going as the seasons change. All lumber is pressure treated so it'll need to breathe for a few months, but eventually it'll all be painted white to match the trim on the coop. Hopefully this keeps all the critters out!!