Hi, I'm Ev (or Evy) and I'm an accidental Backyard Chicken Herder. While I had mentioned to my neighbors that I would like to have chickens Someday (like After I Had Retired), I had given no thought to the where or how of how to accomplish a successful poultry enterprise. Therefore I was totally shocked when two of my neighbors arrived one day and announced they had a gift for me, what I had always wanted: A box of 14 tiny fluffy baby somethings. Not being of sound body or mind at the time, I accepted the gift. I knew absolutely nothing about incubation, care, feeding, housing, etc. but I quickly did a crash course on chicken raising, bought food, an incubator light, waterer, feeder and put the fluffs in my husband's workshop until I could figure out what to do with them. After I killed some of them by having the light too close, (tiny fried chickens with their legs in the air), the cats got a few, one drowned, the survivors moved into a reasonable coop with enclosed run for safety. Chicken lovers, please forgive my ineptitude. The neighbor had given me Bantams - definitely not what I had always wanted! - but I had accepted the gift and was stuck with them. We immediately ordered some full sized chicks that would produce eggs my husband would accept to prevent disharmony in the neighborhood. Today, we have enough full-sized chickens to provide us with all the eggs we can use and give some to the neighbors as well. We finished the main coop named the Henne Penne, put solid roofing over the run, winterized the sides with greenhouse grade plastic film and haven't lost any more chickens through inexperience or mayhem. This past summer, the tiny hens and one of the big ones decided they wanted to be mamas, and we let them experience natural chick birth and rearing. This coming spring we will expand the enclosed run, but in the meantime, we have three Australorps, one large black hen that was given to us because it's leg was dislocated, and 13 bantams. The teenage bantams hang out together in an area of the pen where I hung some tree branches for the original tiny chicks to play on. Just like human teenagers, they prefer their own company and like to stay out late even when their moms call them. Before we went into chicken farming, we already had a 10 foot by 10 foot chain link dog pen with a canvas top. We built the coop 4 foot by 8 foot, raised 3 feet off the ground so we could hang feeders and waterers underneath as well as have more ground space for the flock and added lights. The pen runs alongside the coop on the east , across the back of the coop, and continues on the south side of the dog pen. I built a tiny storage space on the west side of the run (and the south corner of the dogpen) so I could keep feed closeby. The storage area is 30 inches wide at maximum, and built around a pear tree that shades both dogpen and chicken run. I shaped the roof to clear the tree and the door had to be a trapezoid for the same reason. The neighbors thought I was crazy but they keep bringing people to see the setup. Next we added ducks, enclosed Duckland Yard (at 51 Downy Street) and enclosed Duckingham Palace (with a north and south wing). Duckland Yard is 25 foot by 75 foot, includes two small ponds and a heated stock tank for winter swimming. The cats were jealous of the duck house, so I built them a separate quarters known as the Cat House until we think of a better name. Some of them still like to nap in the duck house and if the ducks get tired of their company, they chase them out of the pen. Eight cats live in the house and sometimes have guest cats. We have two Pomeranians that enjoy the dog pen. Don't worry, they only play and snooze in it in the winter, but they love to romp in the snow and have a little track made so they can run around the critter houses and check on chix, dux and catz. Our family consists of my husband and I and our Veteran son who is roosting with us while he completes his education. Hope this wasn't too long an introduction, gotta go feed the flocks.