Hello....Am from western & upstate NY, living at the edge of a forest in Western Tennessee (just north of Memphis) & New to BYC & a newbie to chickens too. So far, have 4 buff orpingtons, 2 Australorps, & a few unknown bantams (couldn't resist that are about 10 days old, & So far thriving! Brooder in small bathroom at 95 (now 90 degrees), medicated feed, 1 waterer with electrolytes-1 without, & meal worm treats by hand (which they go crazy over). I'm considering some bramas, maybe welsummers & wyandottes too (suggestions welcome) but I prefer any friendly, docile, cuddly breeds for egg laying only, pets-No meat (except for maybe any mean bullies). Have a pretty empty 100×100 horse barn & arena. I plan to convert one of the smaller/ end stalls (12x15') into a coop. Then plan to install an auto door to the stall/coop's outer wall (which has a 15' width area between the barns outer south wall & a fence), and then planned to line the wood fence with chicken wire and run it the length of the barn (or maybe go only 1/2 the length of the barn) providing them a potential 50' (or 100') x15' run. But I'm worried about hawks (& possums, raccoons, coyotes, dingos, Wild dogs, etc.) all which we have a big abundance of (especially hawks which are constantly killing the wild birds) around here. I've read that you should use metal mesh hardware cloth (top & sides & in ground) to keep out preditors instead of chicken wire but that stuff is so darned more expensive. Anyone have an alternative suggestion or know where I can buy the stuff that would be more affordable than TS, Lowes, or Amazon (which the cheapest I found is over $2/ft.)? Also, the barn is a hard packed dirt floor...wondering should I put down some kind òf flooring or is pine shavings over sand/dirt floor good enough? Any suggestions for converting/creating the coop/run/roosts would be greatly welcomed & appreciated. Thanks in advance!