Hi all! I'm Saltykins (well, my cat's name is Salt, I'm just stealing his name). I have been lurking on the forums for several months now, ever since March in fact when I found the neighbor's hen with six eggs under our car port the day after one of our beloved canine family members passed away. Initially I wanted to move the hen back to the neighbor's side since I wasn't fond of chickens at ALL. (The neighbor allows her chickens to go wherever they please, including our yard, and they'd wake me up in the morning with what I know now to be their 'egg song' and crowing, and they ate all my sunflower sprouts and seeds!) But my parents wanted to leave her alone, so we gave her a can of water and some squaw bread every now and then. Fast forward twenty-six days later and there were two chicks in there. Well, I had decided that if the hen was going to stay on our property without rent, then I'd be taking three chicks for egg-laying purposes. Mind, I had no idea how monstrously protective of chicks broody hens could be. It was a terrifying and humbling experience. I had to use the water hose to keep her at a distance from me until I could run back into the house like a ninny. Eventually, we got the chicks and put the hen and her remaining eggs into one of the old coops built by the previous owner. Unfortunately, none of those eggs hatched and the hen eventually went back home. Five months later and the flock has expanded with the addition of three 4-mo RIRs. Through it all BYC has been an indispensable aid! I don't think I ever would have taken the dive into raising chickens if it weren't for this site. I've learned a lot, and I'm hoping to learn more as my chickens grow. Their main purpose is eggs, but once I get more accustomed to keeping a flock I'd like to start raising the RIRs for meat, too. (I'd also like a Serama one day. They are so cute!! And a goat or two!) Gosh, that got super wordy! I'll keep this short: I'm a undergrad in Animal Science, originally intended to go into Illustration, switched after two years, intended to be a vet, am now having second thoughts re: tuition (cry) and what feels like another kerjillion years in school. We have two cats and two dogs. Pleased to meet you!