Having grown up in the country in Arkansas and been around chickens most of my life (my aunt and uncle in Arkansas raised 30-40 thousand chickens at once and even received Farmer of the Year for poultry farming) and collected eggs in my aunt's barn and helped load chickens when the trucks came. I had pet chickens that I raised after getting colored Easter chicks at a local dime store back in the 60's. I even helped my dad butcher chickens for supper when I was only 6 or 7. I have finally started raising chickens myself. To this day I still laugh because my grandfather never, ever changed his clocks for daylight savings time - his logic - he could never get his chickens up any earlier to lay eggs so why bother! He also never had a rooster because he said he wanted all of his 'girls' to remain virgins - out of six kids they had five girls and only one son so this may have been wishful thinking for the family as well!!! HA! So we finally got a five acre place in Poetry, Texas last year with huge oak trees and deer in the backyard almost every day so we thought it was about time to get some chickens. My grandson also wanted to raise a few as well so we got a bunch of Dominiques and a half dozen Rhodies for my grandson. My wife grew up around Domineckers that her grandmother had so since we wanted a good dual purpose flock they were a natural choice for us. I built a chicken coop from a wooden deck that was left by the previous owner that served as a platform next to their motor home RV which was all 12 ft. treated 2x6's. It is built up off the ground about 16-18" on cedar posts cut from trees on the property which allows them to run for cover when they feel threatened. I first saw this happen when they were about two months old and a flock of crows flew over and one of the hens clucked an alarm and instantly they all rushed for cover which was hilarious to watch so the next day I tried imitating the alarm call and sure enough they all ran for cover underneath the coop. This was REALLY entertaining to our grandkids. I built a 40'x15' pen with cedar posts and 6' tall 2" poultry netting with netting over the top for about half the length. So far the hawks have only managed to get two chickens and I still have 36 hens and only one rooster (one victim was a roo). I also put in a side door at floor level to clean out the coop which also acts as a door to the outside of the coop and run so they can free range. The roof is made of corrugated tin except one panel is clear poly for a sky light. The roof overhangs the coop for about three feet in the back to cover the nest boxes which are on the outside of the coop with hinged lids for easy access to the eggs. My wife calls the coop Fort Chickenwood and tells everyone it also serves as our storm shelter. They should start laying around the first of March. It is really nice that the deck had electrical power ran to it so I built the coop right over the outdoor outlet so I have power to the coop for lights which currently I have on a timer to bring on the laying at the proper time at about 24 weeks old. The coop is big enough on the inside to store the feed in a steel trashcan which is very convenient. I planted a 100 lbs rye grass seed all around the coop and beyond which they love to forage on this winter. They have also discovered the deer feeder and every morning when I let them out they run over to eat the corn that has been left behind by the deer, squirrels and raccoons. The roo finally learned how to crow around Thanksgiving and the first time he tried I thought he was being killed and I rushed out to see what was attacking him. It was just standing at the top of the ramp to the coop letting out the most awful squawk I ever heard. My wife thought that it was hilarious how I ran out there only to find him trying to crow. He sounds pretty good now. I had them on medicated feed for awhile but now they are getting close to laying I switched back to starter/grower mix. I had several boxes of old Cheerios that I gave them the other day and I thought I was going to be trampled to death. Now they run after me wanting more treats. My chihuahua, Peanut, also thinks the treats are for her and it is just too funny to watch the chickens fight her for the treats. She darts in and stands on her hind legs and bats at them with her front paws like a cat trying to get them to move back so she can grab a treat but they stand their ground and actually gang up on her and chase her around in circles.