I was in South Carolina a few weeks ago with a work acquaintance and while we were driving to our first appointment he mentioned his new project: a chicken coop. I was very interested so after our meeting he took me to check it out and it was impressive! He tore down his deck to put in a smaller one and he used the old wood from his deck on the coop. They bought about 10 baby chicks for about $2 each and were bringing them up in the garage until they were big enough to get in the coop. They had the backyard fixed in to keep those rascally foxes out!
They put the coop in their garden so the chickens could roam the garden eating bugs and then turn them into eggs! My only question had to do with noise, but they said that chickens shouldn't be too noisy, it was the roosters that made the noise. While I don't think my HOA would allow a chicken coop, I plan on building one when we move in a few years (as long as there are no city laws banning them). I think it would be a great learning experience for kids. Along with a compost pile, they are a great way to make your backyard more sustainable!