Hi this is garnan. I'm Gary the 'gar' part, my wife is Nancy - the other half. This is the first time I have been on a forum of any kind. I hope this will help us as I am new to keeping chickens. Some friends of ours are moving to Northwest Arkansas and asked if we would like a few chickens to remember them by. So we couldn't hurt their feeling and said yes. That was the easy part. Now we have to prepare a place for them. We have a 16' by 20' barn in the back of our lot with a 17' by 20' space next to it that's not being used. The coup will be attached to the barn. I figure an 4" by 8" coup should be large enough for 6 chickens (We can only have 6 in town.) and the coup will be in the 17' by 20' yard. My concern is the gound. There was a lot of trash, broken glass, rotten wood, poison ivy and peeling paint. I have cleaned it up but I couldn't get everything. The barn has not been painted on that side for a least 15 years and the paint is in bad shape. I am going to put down a tarp ( to catch the paint chips )and scrape it good and repaint. If the old paint has lead in it how can it affect a chicken or their eggs? I also have alot of leaves I can spread over the ground. Will this help? - Thanks for any comments - Gary.