Hello Everyone! I have been browsing BYC for about 18 months and just signed on today. I have had chickens full time since April. For Mother's Day my family surprised me and came over and spend Saturday before and built me my chicken coop! It's beautiful! So are my children!! 1) What breed is she? This is Dot, for obvious reasons. She is about 8 months old and the size of a pigeon, which many who see her ask if she is a pigeon! Small, compared to my 9 other hens (9 different other breeds), but can hold her own. Even to taking food from the others beaks! As well as from the rooster, Floyd!! He's a bit afraid of her. 2) My chicken yard is wet and getting muddy so I laid out 2 bales of hay which is now getting wet. Do I keep the yard dry? And is there something better than straw? My chicken yard 25' x 15' with a fence (made with chicken wire) 10' high, cuz Dot flies! At first we had only a 6' fence but had to add an additional 4 feet'! And she still manages to get up and out!! Next spring we are expanding the yard by another 100 sq feet. 3) Magpies are flying in to the yard. Is this a problem? We do not have netting over the top. Should a top be put over it? 4) A squirrel loves eating from the treat block...Is this a problem? 5) Raccoon took 2 of my hens back in May, my husband shot and killed it. We heard from others about male (human) urine and it seemed to do the trick for 5 months, until October when we woke up to our dog barking his head off at 2am. He was in the house with us. His barking scared the raccoons (3) up a tree and we went out and shot and killed all 3 with a shot-gun! Would have had coon-skin hats made but not at a cost of $200 each!! Is there any other means to protect your flock from raccoons? I have chickens for pets only. It's been kinda hard knowing what to do with all the eggs we get. My husband is vegan and I can't eat 42+ eggs a week myself! Neighbors are loving me and my girls! Next year I'm adding honey bees and a couple of miniature goats. We are empty nesters. I love to paint (watercolor) and each time I sit down, nothing comes to mind. I've lost something and so decided to go into chickens like 2 of my daughters. It's been a lot of fun! They come running each time I call out, "Good morning girls!" Well, I think that is enough for my first time. Any input about my 5 questions would be helpful. Thanks.