I've been stealing knowledge for a few months now and decided to join. I currently have my first flock in the backyard 5 RIR's 2 Black Sex-link & 2 Barred Rock. They seem to be a "model flock" very well behaved (save for the one RIR who likes to fly up on my shoulder when I least expect it!). I've put together a relatively automatic coop. They have have 5 gallons of poop free water with nipples for drinking, I made 2 PVC feeders that are rain and rodent proof, and hold two days worth of feed. I can't always be home at dusk and I don't like to get up early so I bought them a 12V automatic door! They put themselves to bed (even if they are free ranging outside of the run) and get up on thier own! They are four months old and just yesterday started doing the egg squat if I stoop over they come running and line up! Should be getting eggs soon.They get the utmost care and attention but I still can't help thinking of them as live stock and not pets. In Fact I had six RIR's but one turned out to be a rooster as soon as he crowed he went in the crock pot, my daughter and I thought he was delicious!