Hi Guys! We are brand new to raising chickens - in fact, we haven't had our chickens for 24 hours just yet They are cozy and happy in a pine box in the garage for now, but we'd like to get started on the coop. We have two options, both with very good pros and cons and I'm hoping that the community can help us decide! Some background: We live in Southern Arizona where we get brutal heat in the summer and the occasional freeze in the winter. Our property is well protected from most predators but ones in the area would be coyotes (I've never seen one), bobcats, stray dogs or birds of prey (owls mostly). We live in the county, not rural - so we have neighbors close by but no restrictions on raising poultry for personal use. These are our new babies. Breeds, I have no idea. I have it written down somewhere. We have two location options: 1) A small (9x22ft) space on the side of our house that currently houses our hot tub heater and electrical box. 2) A much larger (40x50ft) sideyard with brick dog housing thingie that came with the house when we bought it. The first option.... A photo for perspective. That window would be the master bedroom. This is the small side yard. Everything in it except for the hot tub heater (white pipes) is removable. It's basically full of landscaping trash, firewood and pine needles. The large black thing is our old hot tub heater and is also headed for the dump. Pros: 1) It is very secure with 6ft walls facing the street and 6.5ft facing our neighbor. 2) It is not currently in use for anything 3) It gets partial sun in the afternoon. 4) No stooping to get eggs if we go this route. 5) If we ever wanted to fully enclose this area, it would be fairly easy. 6) Easy to wire electricity and maybe even automatic watering. 7) Pest control would be easier as the area is fairly well sealed. Cons: 1) We would need to construct a hen-house from scratch, which we estimate will cost us about $250-400 for the designs we like, probably more. My husband has excellent carpentry skills but not the best cost-management skills 2) The pine tree drops a TON of needles in this yard 3) There might be a bit too much shade in the winter. 4) We will need to construct a barrier to keep the chickens away from the hot tub heater and all cabling near the electrical unit. Now on to the other option.... For perspective. This sideyard is separated from the main yard by a wall and a gate (that's currently open in the photo). The previous owner used to raise dogs, I'm told. So we have this dog house thing(?) constructed with a roof. There is a cooler vent inside (with the cooler sitting on the other side of the wall) with ventilation via two bricks turned sideways. The inside of the "dog house" has a dirt floor, and then there's a continued roofed "run" all the way to the orange tree. More pictures.... Some idea of how the ventilation would work. The entrance to the enclosed part of the dog house Left side of dog house interior Right side of dog house interior View from the dog house to the street. Pros: 1) Much cheaper to adapt to hold chickens. 2) Much faster to get us up and running and on to other projects. 3) More room to expand if we decided to increase the size of the run or keep turkeys later. 4) An excuse for my husband to clean up this "junk" yard 5) A purpose for something we will never use (we keep our pups indoors). 6) More sun 7) A cooler? Can chicken coops have coolers? Cons: 1) Much less secure. The large sidegate might eventually have to be replaced (or a secondary barrier installed) and the walls are so much shorter than the other option. 2) Much more visible. Unlike the West side of our property, these walls are short and the yard is visible from street. Our neighbors on this side are tenants with a high turnover. We will never know what we will get. 3) The loss of my archery range. 4) We are much less likely to hear any sounds of distress from the chickens should they be in trouble. 5) Egg retrieval would mean crawling into the space (or sending one of the kids). Thank you for reading this far! We really appreciate all the ideas we can get!! *Edited to remove the poll - thanks for voting!