Since the hydroponics project has been put on hold due to some yet-to-be-resolved issues, the next project to bring fresh food to the table is the introduction of 4 pullets to the backyard.
I played with a variety of coop designs but after pricing the materials needed, I decided to make use of the old metal shed that contains seldom used equipment in our backyard. Rather than give them free reign in there, I designated an area using some random materials and leftover wire fencing where they can stay at night, safe from predators. An old boat hatch was my only expense. It allows entry into the shed, has a nice fold down door for a walkway and easily fit (well, my hubby put it in and there was no cussing so it must have been easy :o) into the metal wall of the shed.
The biggest concern was how the dog and cat were going to handle them, but after a few stalking attempts and the firm "NO!", hopefully they'll loose interest. In any case, the chickens are certainly sensitive to their surroundings and have shown they can evade these playful dangers.
I can see the biggest challenge for me will be finding a way to train the chickens to go into the coop at night. We've got some big things that go bump-in-the-night around here and the girls need the safety of that coop whether they like it or not. Anyone watching me try to catch them last night would probably have had a good laugh. Well at least I got my exercise for the day...