Ok, let me first say I've had chickens for several years, but this is my first winter without. I adopted my hens out to a pen-free farm (where my girls go after they "retire") and I had surgery, so instead of worrying about them, too, I figured this would be a good time to revamp the coop/run and raise some new chicks. I plan on getting my assortment of new chicks around March. Possibly McMurray again, but I'm checking my options. I have always felt so guilty not letting my girls out. But we live with a woods and pond in our backyard, LOTS of hawks, owls, coons, possum, coyotes have come into the backyard day and night, and stared me straight in the eye.....etc etc. So with all of that, as well as a busy highway we live on, they lived in my 8x12 coop, with a 10x12 attached run. I had 8, I'd like to consider having a few more this time, but think about space, and think about my run needing to be bigger. Whenever I go to a farm with chickens running loose, I just love it. I think my fear with the road is because of this farm I used to drive by regularly, they had chickens, geese and ducks all running loose, along a highway (not as busy as mine), and I hit a goose years ago. I never forgave myself. I always watched and slowed down when I went by this place...but this one just came out of nowhere I swear, and it was dark. Having a small flock, I just don't want to risk losing any if I can help it. So, they got hand picked grass daily and lots of fresh veggies of various kinds (I work in food service, we have salad/fresh veggies daily and throw out what isn't used, I take it home!) First question....how many girls could I realistically keep in my space? (8x8 chicken area inside coop and 10x12 run). Secondly, does anyone else feel the same way? Want to keep them safe, but feel guilty doing so (although our neighbors have gone thru several flocks due to predators) Third question....I'm considering tearing our run down and making a new one, at least twice the size. Those of you who have used hardware cloth, is it really expensive to fence in a whole run? I've never looked into the size or cost of rolls. Have not yet, anyway. I may consider using the 2x4" squares, and running the fabric over it along the bottom. Right now we have kennel type panels for the run, an old kind that bolts together, and we also have it across the top of the run also. So it's quite the fort knox. I am looking forward to new chickens this year, have my breeds picked out, and will have quite an assortment compared to just two breeds before. I will have to get a minimum order of 25 prior to April, I'm just wondering how many of those I can realistically, comfortably keep in my given area. Thanks!