Then my birthday came. My husband - who also didn't know much about chickens, but was all too eager to surprise me - went out to the auction and bought off every chicken he could get. That ended up being a whack load of retired Red Sexlinks, who looked like skinheads from all the feathers having been pecked off their heads; one Cornish X with a bad leg; four baby chicks, who all turned out to be mutt roosters, and two Leghorns in a decent condition.
Thoroughly amused, I quickly got rid of everyone, but the leghorns and the chicks. When the chicks all began to crow and I discovered I had no heart to put them in the freezer, I decided to fix my gender ratio by getting a few young Sexlinks. The guy who sold them to me also talked me into buying one of his Silkies. That was when I first discovered how marvellous and varied chicken breeds can be.
There was no going back from there. I realized that chickens are my idea of perfect pets: they don't need me to be their best buddy or their mom. They don't need training. They don't dirty up my house with shedded hair and paw prints. They are low maintenance and not expensive to keep. They give back. They are fun to watch. I can proliferate them without the fear of creating unwanted litter that would end up on the streets or in shelters, and I can collect the various amazing breeds without turning into an animal hoarder. Taking care of 5 is more or less the same as taking care of a dozen, if you have enough space and a proper setup. At the same time, there is enough learning to be done about them to keep things interesting. It's the kind of hobby that could be very intensive or very basic, depending on the time I want to spend.
Today I am a proud owner of a flock of about 30, with breeds including Ameraucana, Jersey Giants, a Wyandotte, a Standard Cornish, some Orpingtons, Red and Black Sexlinks, a Silkie and a bunch of her mutts, and a number of other mutts that are too beautiful to cull. On my free time I love watching my chickens go about their happy free-ranging lives, reading more fascinating stuff about them, or contemplating new breeds to collect. This site has been a great resource before I ever registered and I am looking forward to being its active member.