This is LONG just to warn everyone. My name is Brian and my introduction to chickens has been frustrating and a bit traumatic. After moving to our current acreage in rural SE Minnesota Ive wanted to get some free ranch (free roaming) chickens. We started out with two hand raise Barred Cochin(thats what we were told) hen chicks there were 3 months old that came from a high school project and had lived indoors. In order to get them some outside exposure I put them in a 6 foot tall chain link dog kennel during the day and they loved the grass and being outside. Unfortunately I didnt realize that one corner wasnt tight to the ground and one got partially under the fence and one of our dogs got a hold of it and killed it. I felt bad! I also learned that with 6 dogs, it wasnt looking like we were going to have free roaming chickens. Especially the one that we thought wed never have any problems was the worst. We kept trying to acclimate the dogs to chickens in the house. I didnt want the remaining chick to be lonely so we got two you wild Bantams from our neighbor (hen and roo). The Bantam hen did not like the Cochin hen and was very mean to her. One day when cleaning the cage she got out and was gone like the wind. I figured shed be fine because she was a wild chicken anyways. Well a week later we found her body laying under a tree after a hawk killed her. So then we had the female barred Cochin and a Bantam rooster who seemed to get along well and were living in a big cage in our house while the dogs got used to them. Then the female Cochin got Mareks (sp) disease which lead to a terribly slow and sad death. At this point were down to a the 4(ish) month old Bantam Roo. Now he starts crowing in the house every morning and that was getting old real fast! I saw a Craigslist ad for two free hens. I called and agreed to take the hens. The owner said they were Easter chicks for the kids and they didnt want them anymore. So I go and pick them up and they are beautiful! I didnt even know what kind they were. I had a friend whos had chickens for decades came over and told be that I had a Barred Rock and RIR hen and said the hens and the Bantam Roo should get along great, which they do after a day of getting to know each other. So I put together a quick outside coop and run out of an old kids play house that was on the property when we bought it. Im going to build an indoor coop and run in our barn for the winter. Then next summer Ill build a more permanent coop and run outside. Oh and did I mention my wife hates, hates, hates chickens. She loves animals but not chickens so its been a challenge. Im hoping shell come around! Ive attached some pictures which arent that great because I took them quick with my cell phone. Now I need to branch off into some other topics to resolve some issues I have.