I am thinking of adding a few chickens to the homestead. They would be living in the following environment, underneath my rabbit cages: The area is 8X32 or about, a little wider in places. My cages are all hung with the tops 4' above the ground, and are covered with PVC roofing panels. The sides are 6' tall cedar, or else 12' tall privet trees. I am thinking a couple hens could live in there really comfortably. I have room for a night coop/nest boxes on one side where there is an edge of the porch. The area isn't covered, except about 80% of it is cages (so fairly water proof). When it rains there are puddles here and there, but since we are on sand, it drains quickly. Obviously the chickens would eat the spilled grain/hay/fly larvae whatever underneath the cages. The aisles between each cage bank is only 2-2.5 feet wide, so I am not sure they could fly on top, but even if they do, they can't poop into the cages since they're covered. I am mainly thinking about it, because my compost heap is a failure, we simply have too many wild critters who pick through it. Yes, I would lock them up at night, but in reality, the entire setup is directly off of my back porch, and my bed is 15 feet away from it. It's also lit with a floodlight all night. Anything that touches them, the dogs or cats are going to hear. I am thinking that maybe it'd work to basically change to chicken composters underneath the rabbit cages. [FONT=Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif]My question is, does anyone see a problem with this plan? Would they basically do what I wanted with the composting? I normally clean out underneath the cages once a month, during good weather every other week. With that large of an area and only a few chickens, do I need to worry about how hot the compost is?[/FONT] [FONT=Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif]The night coop would be located on an edge of my porch. It is 24 inches wide, and about a foot off the ground. The porch is treated wood, and I would cover it with hay or shavings. 2 sides would be the house, and 2 sides I would have to construct. I have a bunch of 6 inch boards that I am thinking would make good siding with a 2X2 construction. I am wondering though about making the floor wire underneath the roost - or should I make it solid and just use a deep litter system? How large should it be for 6 birds who would only be locked in it at night? Also, do I need to put food and water in there at night? [/FONT] We don't eat eggs, we're primarily vegan, we do cook with a few, and I have a neighbor who would love them. I am thinking 3 hens max, and large girls, better to till up the garden with in the winter time.