Hi everyone! So excited to join the ranks of chicken enthusiasts. I have nothing at the moment as we are trying to get a handle on things before we start. Coop construction begins this weekend, hooray! My first question is about getting chicks. I have read all sorts of things about WHEN to get your chicks and it seems that there are pros and cons to all different seasons. I live in NY. And since spring has come and gone (in a flash I might add!) we are looking at purchasing in late summer/early fall. My main concern is that we don't unnecessarily subject the young girls to stress and low temperatures based on our eagerness to get started. Would you recommend waiting until next spring or are we underestimating their abilities? And can we assume that (if we do start this year) it will be difficult to obtain chicks? Next questions... I live in a very remote area. We have 8 acres that are mostly woods but a decent amount of cleared land around the house. In the warmer seasons we plan to let the girls roam free during the day. Should I be worried that they might venture off into the woods? Also, my neighbor (~1/8 mile away) has chickens and a rooster. Would that be something that would lure the girls away? Lastly (for now), any thoughts on good egg layers for a beginner? There are SO MANY breeds!! What to do!? There are a few that we are thinking about but since we've no experience it is based solely on what we've read. The ones we think we like are Australorp, Amber Star (hybrid?), and light Sussex. I have no clue how reasonable those are to obtain/keep. What do you think? Looking forward to chatting with you all!! Thank you!!!