I'm so excited!!! We've finally finished the coop, & decided on a permanent location. We've drug that coop all over this farm with our tractor looking for the perfect permanent location. We wanted a spot with the right amount of shade during the hot part of the day, the right lay of the land for drainage, and a convenient location to the house, etc... - glad we are in the middle of nowhere or else neighbors would think we were crazy dragging a building all over the farm. Anyhow, we are situated perfectly now, and we finally got the fence up this week! My girls are out of the coop and so very happy! We have a 10x12 coop, and a 30x40 chain link fenced in area for them. Our bldg is a metal bldg with a plywood floor on skids, like the kind you see in Lowe's parking lot or road side lots. Once they delivered it we put styrofoam insulation in it, and then plywood walls. After the girls are more mature, and are used to their home, I plan to open the gate to let them have full access to all 40 acres during the day, then back into the safety of their "home" at night. I have 4 ducks in with my chickens too. Two of them are "rescues". For some reason people around here buy little baby ducks at Rural King for their kids and grandkids for Easter, then of course they get big enough to poop everywhere and they no longer want them. I have a large pond so I get lots of calls to take in wayward ducks. I'm a softie, ha ha! I've tried to release these particular ducks several times onto our pond with no luck, so I think that they will just live with the chickens for as long as they want to. HOWEVER, I worried that they needed way more water than just my 5 gallon galvanized chicken waterer. Once this heat wave struck, I was going out to refill the waterer a few times a day. It scared me to see how fast they were going thru water. I was even worried that they'd run out while I was away from the house running errands and I wouldn't get back in time to refill it for them... So, yesterday I just went to the Dollar General store and bought an $8 hard plastic baby pool and put it in the chicken yard. The ducks were afraid of it most of the day. That is, until last night when I spotted them drinking from it right before bedtime. YAY! Then, this morning I was so happy to see that now they've taught the girls to drink from it! It was so cute to see the girls sitting on the side/edge of the pool bobbing down into it for a drink. I figure if I change the water 2x a day that should be often enough to keep it clean for them to drink from, plus they still have the original 5 gal waterer. I checked the water level in the baby pool yesterday to be sure that it wasn't deep enough for anyone to drown. It was really hot out, so I just stood one of the hens in the pool. By the way, I thought she'd throw a fit and jump right out, but much to my surprise, she seemed to enjoy it! The water level barely came up to her breast. This pool has solved so many of my water worries in this heat. So, I have three questions.... 1. How old should they be before I "open the gate and give them total access to the farm?" (The pullets I got in March already look full grown, and the ones I got 3 weeks ago are small enough that they come and go thru the diamonds in the chain link fence anyhow.) 2. Since I have a 6' fence around my coop can I leave the doors open at night? 3. Has anyone else tried a baby pool in the chicken yard? I'm assuming it is an okay/safe idea?