Hi everyone! I have a small suburban farmette with 5 acres, 2 horses and a big garden, and I'm considering adding a small coop with a few egg layers. I've been doing some research and I'm looking for advice on the following: 1. Coop design...I'm thinking about building a coop and enclosed yard adjacent to my garden, and letting the birds 'free range' during the day in the large fenced-in garden for at least part of the year, which would offer some protection from preditors. (I have already enclosed the garden with 2x4 welded wire, and electric fence around the top...to keep the critters from eating the veggies.) Will the chickens eat my veggie plants, or will I need to limit their access to the 'after harvest' season? 2. Laying life...how long will a hen be a productive layer? And what do you do when they quit laying? Sunday dinner? Not sure how well I could deal with the 'culling' process. Is this a part of life with chickens? (I am a 4-H mom, but my experience is limited to horses. We don't eat them.) I'm sure I will have more questions, but here's where I'm starting. thanks!