This is my first official post here but I have been lurking for quite some time now. Our family decided to raise some chicken this year, for eggs and the learning experience that it will bring the children. We have 8 that we bought from TSC, red sex links. They are thriving and are in need of moving to their new home, outdoors. Before we make this move in the coming weeks I just wanted to be sure that what we have planned is acceptable. We have a 8ft x 14ft dog kennel that came with our new home, we don't have any real use for it so we thought it would be perfect to place our chicken coop, which is about 4ft x 5ft and will be 2ft off the ground. The kennel is located in a small "forest like" area, many tall skinny pines and a few maples surround the entire area. Shade will not be an issue and the area gets sun in the morning and evening. The floor of the kennel, what will be the run, we have just discovered, is about 3 inches of stone. We have since dug some of that out in an effort to just clean it. Oh and we have placed chicken wire over the top of the kennel and have a mesh sun shade on hand in case it's needed. With all that said... Question #1: Should we leave the stone as the floor of the run? Question #2: We live in an area where river sand is easy to come by, should we consider covering the stone with a layer of sand for easy cleaning and muddy run prevention? Question #3: We were also considering using sand inside the coop as well, using hay during the colder times to insulate the floor a bit (also using hay in the nesting areas as well, since we can get hay for pennies). Is this okay? Question #4: With this layout, should we have our food and water inside the coop or out? Thank you all so much for your help. I've learned more about raising chickens than I ever knew was possible. I don't know where I would be without this site!!!