OK, last night I read some back issues of Chicken magazines, and I read an article on lice, mites, ticks and lice. I am totally grossed out! Right now I have pine shavings in the bottom of the coop. My girls are going to free range in the yard, but they are spending their first week strictly in the coop to learn that this is home. I have been leaving the food and water in the coop all night to make sure they had enough to eat and drink. The article really advised against this, said it could attract mice and other pests, which could infect the girls with nasty things. I live out in a town in the country, with a fenced in yard, two labs and about 14 cats. So far the cats and labs have been good about understanding they have to leave Momma's chickens alone. When we have little breaks, all of us go outside and the boys take their air guns to warn off the pets, but that only had to be done a few times. Now they all kind of look away rather disdainfully! Anyway, I NEVER see snakes or mice, because the cats get them quick. Isn't it funny that they don't mess with the toads, though? Any advise? I will put down DE as soon as it arrives. I do have a wood coop and 2X4 roosts, everything with several coats of paint. Again, the article said to empty the coop EVERY WEEK and scrub with detergents and hot water, and to be honest, I just don't have time to do that! Paradise Chickens "Poultry in Motion!"