I've been coming to the BYC forums to search for answers to chicken questions for a long time and I finally decided to join. I'm Rachel; I live in central California near Yosemite and I have (completely by accident, mostly) 49 chickens. We started out with a dozen RIR hens and a RIR rooster three years ago. Then my daughter wanted new birds for 4-H the next year... enter a dozen more feed store birds. We lost most of our original RIRs (including the best rooster EVER, RIP Rocky) to an unfortunate incident when the dogs got out of their kennel when we were gone for the day. SO TRAUMATIC. A few more 4-H birds came along this year, and then two of our hens hatched out families -- one with our blessing, and one as a surprise. (We had become a little lax with the roll call in the coop at night, and she managed to lay 14 eggs in her favorite hidden spot in the yard, and then to sit on them for eighteen days before we discovered her and moved her to the broody pen.) Aaaaand this is how "eh, we'll buy a dozen chicks even though we only want eight birds because some of them probably won't make it" became two coops, a chicken tractor, and a broody pen full of clucking and crowing. (Not to mention the spreadsheet to keep track of everybody.) (We plan to eat or give away the roos from the families that hatched this year, so that will decrease our flock by a dozen or so.) It's a good thing we live rurally in a Right to Farm county -- and if our neighbors WERE inclined to complain, they'd have to get their dogs to stop barking the scales all night long before I would even consider listening. I grew up with chickens -- the family ranch housed a commercial egg operation for a decade or so before I was born, and though they no longer had thousands of White Leghorns, the enormous barn was always home to a couple dozen rocks and reds -- but they were not my responsibility, so it has been a learning experience for all of us! Thank goodness for 4-H and BYC.. Rachel current flock: a few aged RIR ladies Cock of the walk, Obsidian, the big Champion Large Fowl Black Australorp meanie Three golden-laced, one silver-laced, and two buff Wyandottes Five Black Australorp hens, including Orwen, our first mama One lonesome barred rock hen, whose fellow "barred rock" pullets grew up to be Obsidian and Orwen, actually. Thank you, feed store mistake! Four easter-egger fauxmeraucanas who give us lovely green eggs (and a surprise flock of babies) as compensation for being sadly useless at Fair time Two gorgeous barred rock roosters, Curly and Larry, who were sent for free as padding from the hatchery Nine half-Australorp half not-Australorp teenagers Fourteen half-Australorp half Ameraucana preteens, juuuust starting with the squeaky crows and surprised clucks.