We bought six female Araucana chicks in May 2010 and set about learning about how to care for chickens. It first they lived in a large plastic box with wood shavings on the bottom and a feeder, a waterer, and a light bulb clipped to the wall for heat.
Throughout the early summer, the growing chickens spent the night in the box (with a hardware cloth grate over the top) and lived by day in a six foot around dog run that we moved every day for them to have access to new grass.
We knew they would need a permanent coop and protective run so I started building one. It ended up taking all summer, but we built a very substantial coop that is architecturally similar to our house and which fits very nicely into the setting. It is located about 200 feet from the Chesapeake Bay and has water views.
The hen house is 6x7 feet and the run is 6 x12 feet and is roofed in white corrugated plastic. Hawks, eagles, owls, foxes, and raccoons are all potential problems for our chickens .
The chickens lived happily in the coop until we went back to our regular house in early September. I transported them back in a dog crate in the back of my pick-up. They will live there again for two weeks at Xmas.
As I write this I just remembered that I have not completed the egg boxes at the shore coop! The chickens were not laying when we left. A project for our first days of vacation.