thanks everyone for the welcome! Can I just ask - are the hens really sad when they are broody? Do you need to make them un-broody or do they just get over it by themselves?
OMG @ dressing them up and pushing them around in a pram!! I happened upon a thread that talked about nappies for indoor chickens and am still trying to get my head around that! (although, having said that, I did dress up the bassett hound as a pumpkin for halloween) NB.it was the first time ever in 12 years though, and it was for a doggie parade which was won by a moulin-rouge-jack-russell in her own velvet lined baby carriage theatre!
I looked up a breeder from the Irish Poultry Breeders association site the other day, and he said he doesn't sex the 8 week old chicks he sells, but you would know at around 5 months old when/if they start crowing... but he said he would take back a male and exchange for another chick. He also said he will have some for sale around february. Does this sound about right (and what would happen to the rejected rooster?)
There was also another thread about house-training silkies...
Small girl is getting very excited about all this. It is looking more an more possible!
I've read where other people have had this option...to return roos for chicks. Not everyone wants/needs/or can legally have a rooster. I think that's probably a good deal with the farmer, it sounds like he wants you to be happy with the birds you get from him.