I'm in the process of drawing up plans and going to start buying materials. Hope it's okay if I run some of the ideas past some of you gurus here. As a background, our coop is going to be modified from an old greenhouse on our land that's in a pretty poor place for a greenhouse. This time of year it gets dappled sun and full shade. We only just moved here so I don't know yet what the sun will be like in the summer, but it's pretty close to some very tall trees on the south side so I assume it won't ever get full sun. It has a dirt floor and is about 7.5'x10'. I will actually have 17 chickens in there this summer (chicken math got me already), but we plan to be down to around 10 by the fall and stay around that. I'm hoping pushing the limits in the summer is okay since they'll be free range. I'm in the Pacific Northwest on Vancouver Island, BC, and if anyone cares to look our average temperatures are here: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/statistics/summary/cl1017230/imperial Our humidity is high in the winter. I've read the ventilation and the cold weather coop pages in, I believe, "Patandchickens" signature and they've been pretty helpful. Our winters rarely get below freezing during the day but do tend to go below freezing at night for a couple of months. Should we insulate the coop? Is "air" insulation enough (just putting two layers of wall with nothing in between) or should we go all out and use real insulation. Most of the breeders I've talked to around here don't insulate their coops, but they have a lot more coops and birds than we will. They will likely lay better if we have insulation, right? For ventilation, the walls around about 6 feet tall or so, and the roof is peaked. We may actually pull some of the frame off and have a carpenter friend help us reframe it (some of it is rotting), so we could change that and have a sloped roof. I'm not picky. I thought on the long sides and back of having hardware cloth along the top 6" or so, and the front side having all hardware cloth. We could cover that front side with a tarp or something in the winter if needed. My concern is that we are in a very rainy climate, so I'm not sure having a completely open front like that would actually work regardless of temperatures. Another idea I just read on another thread was to have a "screen" door made out of hardware cloth with a solid door in front of it, and that might be a good idea for us too. I'm going to be reading and rereading the ventilation pages, as I want to make sure we don't have drafts of course. I wanted the coop to be nice and light, so I was thinking of having a skylight in the south side of the roof. Good idea or bad? It would probably be glass. We might even be able to find a window and have it able to open for the summer time. Then we'd have one large window or two medium ones on the south wall and another one on the west wall. As far as predators, the floor is a dirt floor. We plan to put a two-foot apron around the outside. Does this need to be buried at all? Should we also cover the floor inside with hardware cloth and then put lots of bedding on top? I would think that even if a predator somehow did manage to figure out that they should back up, it would take longer than one night to dig 2 feet under, right? Do you just secure the apron with landscape pins? For the run/pastures, we plan to rotate them around 3 different pastures, as well as have a secure, smaller run that would only be used if we were away. I'm hoping to make the pastures predator-proof enough that we can leave them in them even if we're out for the day, and only have to use the small run for longer periods (like a weekend). There are lots of people who free range chickens near us, though a few who have given up because of hawks. However, the area that we're going to have the pastures in has tons of trees and very little open space, so I think we're ok in that regards for the most part. Is electric poultry mesh going to be the most predator proof? I asked a little about in in another thread and realize it will need some maintaining, but I'm okay with that if it's going to keep my chickens the safest. I do have kids though. Would a regular wire fence of some sort with an electric wire along the bottom be better though, since then it's not solely depending on the electricity? Lastly, still on the topic of the pastures and run. Should I make three different pop doors that go to each of the pastures, or should I make one pop door into the run and have doors going into each pasture from there? I think I would prefer to do the second option, just based on our lay out, but would the chickens actually leave the run in that case? I've heard sometimes they won't go very far. How big of an area would we need to have to keep the number of chickens we have happy and not scratching the entire thing bare? (I know the minimums of 10sq ft/chicken, I'm talking more in regards to actually always having greenery and bugs to eat.) We were thinking of sectioning around a quarter of an acre into three pastures for them, is that enough? Overkill? I know it will somewhat depend on the chickens and our climate, but I guess just generally does that seem like it would be enough? Does the run need to be planned for 10 sq ft per chicken considering we will rarely end up needing to confine them solely to the run or would having it a bit smaller be okay? Wow, sorry, this ended up being a lot more questions than I thought I had. Thank you for any help or info!