Hi there! I'm "new" to the forum only in that I finally registered today... I've been lurking for quite some time! Here's my story... About Easter time 2 years ago, I went into TSC with my son to pick up some goat feed for my pygmies, and they had "production red" chicks on sale for a 50 cents each. So we picked out 9 of them, some yellow, some red, some striped, and bought a heat lamp, some starter/grower, a feeder and a waterer, and took our "McNugget Happy Meal box" of chicks home. How fun it was to watch them cheep and peck and scratch! I read somewhere that we should not expect all of them to make it, but we were lucky and they all thrived and grew, and feathered out in the plywood box my husband built for them. We moved them outside to a pen, and when they started "flying" we just let them roam our property on their own. We ended up with 6 hens: 2 RIR's (Henrietta & Moop), 3 Red Stars (Sally, Jinx, and Henny Penny), and 1 big buff girl we call "Lucky" because we thought she was a boy at first; and 3 roos: two RIR's, and 1 that looks closest to the pictures of a Welsummer. I told the kids we could only keep one of the boys, so the prettiest one, "Top Dog" (we knew he was a rooster pretty early on!) became the cock of the walk, and the other two were called "Lunch" and "Dinner" since we have a rule we don't eat animals with names. Along the way, my daughter "rescued" a Silkie rooster a friend of mine was going to "get rid of one way or another." We lost my favorite hen Sally to a dog attack early on, and of course "Lunch" and "Dinner" ended up in the crockpot, but the rest all grew up free ranging on our 10 acres with our pygmy goats and 4 dogs (2 Pyrenees mixes, 1 ancient Mastiff, and 1 black lab who thinks he's an LGD!). This past year, we acquired some more chickens (a mixed lot - not sure what they all are!) from a friend who was moving. We really love the bug and tick reduction we've experienced, and the girls have been giving us enough eggs for our family and to give away to some of our friends. My husband's cousin asked to buy a couple of hens when she bought some baby goats from us, so we sold her a RIR that had come in the mix lot from my friend, and one of the Red Stars that was on the bottom of the pecking order (Henny Penny). A few months ago, we noticed one of our RIR hens sitting in a big packing crate in the back yard. Sure enough, Moop had gone broody. 10 weeks ago, my son heard peeping, and we discovered 9 baby chicks freshly hatched sitting under her in the crate. We took them out (it was stacked on top of a couple of other crates so it was not going to be safe when they started moving about), and brought them inside. We moved them out in their brooder about a month ago, and when they started getting out on their own (escape artists!) I decided to go ahead and let them start free ranging with the rest. They had their "safe spot" in the brooder (the entrance was too little for the big chickens to get into), and we have only lost one of them so far. (I think a critter got it last weekend despite my dogs, which made me sad since it was one of my favorites). So, I have a pretty interesting mix out there now. There's the adult chickens: 2 RIR hens, 1 Red Star hen, 1 unknown big buff hen (Lucky), 1 unknown big black hen (but opalescent green in the right light), 1 small black hen with a golden head and neck, 1 Silkie rooster, 1 (possibly?) Welsummer rooster, and 1 white rooster that I thought was a hen at first (oops). Turns out those white roosters get around more than I thought, because of the 8 remaining chicks, 3 are almost all white, 1 is white with the prettiest black markings (and Egyptian Eye Makeup!), 2 look like Red Stars with curly fluffy Silkie tails, and 2 look like RIRs, 1 of which has a curly fluffy Silkie tail. I THINK the white ones, the white and black one, and the Red Stars are all pullets, and maybe the RIR with the non-curly tail is a cockerel, but since they're such mutts, it's hard to tell! Anyway, that's my story! I'm looking forward to reading and learning more here!