So we hatched new baby chicks in February and while we enjoyed watching them grow up, they were getting entirely too big to be in the brooder in the garage. Additionally, they were getting too much dust on our bikes! ;-)
My husband spent a couple of weekends in a row (I only marginally helped) building a new run for them. We purchased the little coop for them off a guy on craigslist who builds them and painted it ourselves. Then, once the run was completed, we butted the new coop up to it, arranged the chicken wire, and let them explore. The base of the run is lined with cedar shavings for now, but we'll probably keep it full of straw or spent hay from the goat shed as time goes on. We figured that cedar shavings were a good bet since that's what the chicks had in the brooder and we wanted it to be somewhat familiar to them.
It's located in the corner of the goat area, so to free range the birds, we can just open the door and not have to worry about the neighbors dogs chasing down our birds.
This was when the new chickies first started to investigate! I think here they are saying to each other "you want me to step over this gaping hole right here? Really? I don't think I want to go outside that bad...".
So far, this arrangement appears to be working out just fine. The chickies have learned that their new coop is 'safe' and they go there when scared. They also put themselves to bed when it gets dark, so all we have to do is close up the coop (lifting that ramp and latching it to the side of the coop).
Now to just wait for the eggs to start....