I had chickens throughout my childhood and in college but have been without them due to frequent moves and apartment-living. Now that I'll be in one place for the foreseeable future I've decided to rent a house so I can get chickens again.
I had silkies for about a decade and am planning on getting 3-5 hens (to start) to keep in my new backyard in Tucson. Although I've also owned rhode island reds, seabrights, ameraucanas and a few other breeds (and unintentional crosses), I found that silkies make the best pets.
I'm going to build a chicken coop before getting them and need to make it sturdy and predator-proof (as well as cool) as I'll be living on the border of Saguaro National Park in Tucson. Any advice on coop-building and ways to keep silkies cool during the 110+ degree summers would be appreciated.
I'd also appreciate any suggestions on where to buy healthy silkies in Arizona or southern California. I originally wanted chicks but don't want to have to get rid of any if they turn out to be roosters so I'm thinking that getting hens might be the way to go.
My parents and I used this forum for advice when we owned chickens years ago and I'm pleased to be joining the community.