For all of your suburbanites that are raising chickens in the space of your backyards, I wanted to share this site: BackYard Chickens. I have got a ton of information from it and it's just pretty damn cute in general.
There is an entire "learning center" where you can get tips and how to's. And a whole section on coops and another whole section on different breeds with pictures and everything which is super helpful for newbies!
I check that site every so often & do a bit of research for when we get our own rural place (hopefully soon!)
There are so many adorable coops & ideas there. What we build depends on what kind of land we end up buying - like all farming/homesteading projects naturally.
One of my favorite blog posts on something to watch for as a newbie, or even someone who's been doing it forever: Chicken Math My Pet Chicken is my 2nd favorite chicken site so far. (Sells chickens, coop kits & other misc chicken-related items.)
Thanks for the links, I'm still working on putting together my perfect backyard chicken solution! Of course I probably don't need to remind anyone here that Paul has written a great article about chick raising options at:http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp
I'm really trying to work it out so I can give them full range of my little 1/4 acre (rotationally if possible) while keeping them out of my garden and freshly made hugekultur at least some of the time. Of course they would go on clean up duty every now and then for bugs and once the growing season was over. The other consideration of course is making it all look 'acceptable' enough to prevent my neighbors from recommending my commitment to an asylum
Either way I figure I'll dive in next spring with a few chicks and try to make it work, I'm in the lucky position of being able to give the chickens a happy home at my parents if it doesn't work out.
I'd love to see any additional examples of folks who have had success with micro scale chickens- I realize its not always possible and that not everyone wants to do it this way but i'm really trying to keep my inputs to a minimum, hopefully with the right balance and plenty of polyculture it is possible to raise them on free forage with exception for the winter in my case I think.