Our coop at this point is 4 x 8 feet. The bottom 2.5 feet is the run, and the top 2.5-3 feet with a shed roof is the sleeping quarters. We're going to expand it with another 8 x 8 section, but right now we just need to get our 11 girls outside at night as well. They spend their days in a portable pen that I move to a new spot every day. I have some questions, now that we're actually putting the finishing touches on the part we have almost done, and I'm trying to plan the addition so it will be as easy as possible. 1.) The ramp down. I cut a hole in the floor, it's almost 14 x 14 inches. Is this big enough for standard hens/possibly one rooster? I'm going to put the ramp down from there, and was considering hinging it, so I could shut the girls up at night for extra safety. I was thinking of drilling a small hole in the floor of the coop where the end of the ramp would be if it came up. Tying thin rope to the ramp, so I could draw it up and wrap the rope around a clamp at night to keep the ramp/door in the floor shut. Will this work? Am I insane? Oh, of course I am! I'm addicted to chickens! We've lost 2 chicks, one to a hawk, one to a racoon, so I'm determined not to repeat those mistakes. I know the run will be a pain to clean since it's so short and under the coop, but it was the cheapest/easiest way I could think of to make it safe. 2.) Windows -- Can i just cut a hole in the plywood walls and mount the window with hinges outside that hole? I'd cover it with hardware cloth so it was safe even if open, but will this cause water to collect on top and rot out my coop wall or window? Will this sort of window cause drafts in the winter since it won't have an airtight seal? 3.) If it turns out that all my measures to keep the run predator-safe work, can I leave the food/water outside at night so I don't have to suck up precious floor space inside? I guess in winter this wouldn't work for the water, right? 4.) it's best to put something up to keep the hens from walking underneath the roosts, right? so when I calculate sq footage of the coop, I can't count that space, or the space where the food, water or nest boxes are, right? 5.) can I grow anything they'd like to munch on in the run since it's pretty much in full shade? I hate to see bare dirt in there. I guess I should put down mulched leaves or grass clippings? I'm already way over budget and would like not to have to buy straw or pine shavings for the run. Can I just toss weeds I pull from the garden or flower beds in there? Ok. Well, you can see the building that I'm working on currently at my original post about a tractor gone awry at: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=5949 I'll post updated pics tomorrow about what it looks like now. we tore out brambles and leveled out a mound of dirt in the back corner of our yard. We laid down wire fencing (not hardware cloth) and put cement "bricks" at the corners, with a 2 x 4 running in between, then put this coop on top of that. We are stapling that fencing to the bottom of the run before we add the hardware cloth. We also plan to bury more fencing around the perimeter to further discourage diggers. One short (4ft) end of the coop will have a door that will let us dock a portable pen to it, both to expand the run in the winter, and to get the chicks out on the lawn during the day so the run doesn't become toxic with poop. Our portable pen is 8 x 8, built mostly with firring strips (I think that's what they're called) so it's light, but flimsy. And unwieldy to move. So hubby wants to build ANOTHER portable pen he's calling the taxi to get the girls from coop to pen. I'm thinking something 4 x 8 built out of 1 x 3's which will give them a little more room during the day, but be easier to move. We'll see. one thing at a time I guess. I knew I was going to build many chicken structures... so much for my "cheap" free range organic eggs. sigh.