Let's just say that when I decided to buy chicks late last summer, my husband was less than thrilled. "They will stink", he said. "I will end up having to take care of them", he said. "I'm not helping you build anything", he said. "But the girls will love this", I retorted. My girls are 6 and 8. I knew they would love mom's crazy idea. So, I talked to a local breeder AND ordered some chicks from MPC, just in case. My logic was sound: our ordinances allow for 6 laying hens and no roos. I read everything on BYC and more, and I figured on 50% of the 5 locally bought chicks being male, so ending up with possibly 2 or 3 hens there, and I ordered 5 sexed EE chicks from MPC. So, 7-8 pullets...and figure the 25% attrition rate for chicks...voila! 6 laying hens, maybe more, maybe less. There's something about laying down that gauntlet (that my husband did with the whole not helping build anything issue) that lit a fire under me. I bought and built the Catawba coop from www.catawbacoops.com. And lo' and behold, I did it. Lots of minor mistakes along with my whole initial terror of the mitre saw, and all, but I did it. Very nice coop for a few hens (I'll get more to that later). The trip to the breeder was fun for all of us (except my dear husband, but he came anyway). $25 dollars later we were the proud owners of 5 one day old chicks. There were 2 Welsummers, 2 Marans, and a Pumpkin Hulsey. My 5 EE MPC chicks arrived within the next week, and oh! So cute. All 10 chicks in the brooder and my girls were beside themselves. It was a complete mess and wonder to care for our 10 chicks on our covered back porch here in Georgia last fall. I meticulously kept the brooder cleaned for the stink factor, which was very low. Husband still thought I was crazy and he was not happy. We moved them to the coop at 5 weeks. Big problem, though, only one turned out to be a roo. No chick losses. So here I am with 9 hens in the coop. We re-homed the roo, and I had 9 pullets. 6 hens is the ordinance. After much persuasion, my parents are now the owners of 1 Maran and 3 EEs. Whew. The Catawba Coop is a wonderful coop, but ended up being too small for my 5 remaining hens. My mom started with a larger stationary coop for her 4, and her hens (my hens I raised!) started laying before Christmas. We (I) had someone build a larger stationary coop in January in the backyard. Husband has been calling them freeloaders for 2 months now and the fact that mom has dozens of eggs already has been harsh. No eggs. No eggs. UNTIL 2 weeks ago. It's been very sporadic, but today, 4 eggs! Tonight in the kitchen, husband tells me, "you know, I really love those chickens". "What?!?" I exclaimed. Well, this is why: The first ever Maran egg is the top left. Notice the peace signs and date of the lay left by the 8 year old. The Welsummer egg is the top right. The EE egg is the lower left. Notice the heart left by the 6 year old. The Pumpkin Hulsey egg is the bottom right. I can't make out all the inscriptions but one looks like a heart to me. I say I was right all along.