I didn't know where else to put this, so if it doesn't belong here, let me know where it should go and I'll move it. I have approximately 900 (typo, sorry!) sq ft of space in my back yard that will be designated for a food garden and chickens. Only four - no chicken math for me, because I have a Nosy Ned next door who complains and calls code enforcement on people, so I need to keep everything to the letter, and the letter says I can only have four hens. I had already planned to fence/hardware cloth in the entire thing, plus a ceiling, to keep pests out of it, and was just going to put a coop inside that fence and let the birds have run of the garden. With chickenwire screens around the garden beds, of course, to keep them from destroying my plants. The area designated is sunny with plenty of shade. The plan was to build between January and March, plant in April and get the chicks in May. I was going to rent an auto-tiller and pay some friends and relations in food and beer to come help me till up the yard and build the enclosure, planter beds, and chicken coop. But in reading how efficient chickens are at tilling and fertilizing, I'm debating having the enclosure and coop built in December and January, getting the birds as soon as they're available, letting them till the ground for me and building the beds once that's all done. The hatchery I'm using says they'll have day-old chicks available in January for the breeds I want, and I don't need to plant till April, so there would be time to let them get big enough to be out in the yard at least part of the day. I live in Florida and it's only ever "cold" (40 degrees is our usual lowest low) for about a month and a half in January and February, when they'd be inside in the brooder anyway. It starts to warm up again late February/early March, and they'd be a couple of months old then and able to be outdoors. Plus, that way I'd be able to have someone come check on them a few times a day for the couple days I have to be out of town in May for a wedding, rather than either waiting till after that trip to get them or hiring a full-time chicksitter for those few days. (The other house pets will be kenneled at the vet, but the vet doesn't kennel birds.) Would it be mean of me to allow them all that space and then suddenly have 2/3 of it taken up by fenced-in garden beds? Should I just go with my original plan and start the garden first and get the babies in May?