I grew up in one the largest cities in the U.S., but always dreamed of living in the country and having animals on farm. I finally got my house in the country, with a small barn, but my picture wasn't complete without some animals (except for my yellow lab "Roscoe"). My husband grew up here and had experiences raising animals with his grandmother when he was a child, and suggested I start with something easy...rabbits. What a disaster that was!!! Then my mother-in-law (our next-door, foot-ball field away, neighbor), suggested getting some chicken to raise for eggs & meat. I was wary of the idea due to my limited experience with any type of birds, and my harrowing interactions with grandma's bi-polar pet goose, but being an animal lover in general, I decided I'd give it shot. We planned to start with 3 dozen birds and see how things went, then we could increase our numbers the following year (there are 5 of us, with the in-laws, who share our dinner meal together every day). We looked at the "Chickens" magazine Breed Bonanza and got ideas of what breeds may like to get, but based it mainly on appearance. We started making calls in the spring to local feed and supply stores looking for chicks. After calling TSC and looking up the ISA Browns they mentioned, we went to pick up our first dozen. By the time we arrived, they only had 5 pullets let so we rounded off the dozen with 7 straight run Buff Orpingtons (which we hadn't even noticed while looking for breeds). We also planned to order 2 dozen Barred Rocks for our nearest local owned feed store. After getting our new chicks settled in their brooder, my husband went straight to the computer to look up these mysterious Buff Orpingtons. That's how we found BYC and all the incredible information available (thanks to all you members and your posts). We quickly fell in love with the orpingtons, though only 4 of the seven actually turned out to be of the breed. The other three were actually more ISA browns, and even though they seemed to bully the slower growing orpingtons initially, this first dozen birds were absolutely wonderful! I was incredibly surprised by how much more personable they were than rabbits, and had such a great time watching them grow, observing their behaviors, and enjoying their antics. I couldn't wait for the Barred Rocks to arrive. Now these birds were VERY different! Their superb foraging abilities were first observed by the substantial amount of feed being wasted as they pulled it out of the feeder by the fistful. We then were exposed to their incredibly curious natures which made them extremely difficult to keep in the brooder, as we played "chase the chicks" every few hours to keep them safe. But even though they were definitely a bit more challenging, I learned to appreciate them as well. My experiences raising this flock was so enjoyable, that we've since decided to hatch our own birds next year, and added some gold laced wyandottes at the end of the summer. We've even added some "chicken based hobbies" to our lives and are growing fodder for the winter, and fermenting feed. I again thank all the members for the amazing wealth of information that you provide which made this first year for us much easier and more enriching. I'm so glad we discovered this forum, and even more glad to be a part of it.