Hi! I am new to owning chickens, and am excited to learn from this forum and share our progress! My dream for years has been to create a self-sustaining "hobby" farm where my family can live. Unfortunately when we bought our first home it ended up being in a suburban area with only a backyard, so I figured the dream would have to wait. I do have some experience from when I lived on a ranch for a few months, where I learned to process chickens and rabbit, as well as milk goats and make cheese, and ever since have been wanting to return to that life. We decided this spring to start a vegetable garden in the backyard, and one day my husband was looking on Craigslist and saw an ad for Americaunas, and asked if I'd like some chickens that lay blue eggs. Then I realized, we don't HAVE to wait for the chickens - we can have those here! I confirmed with the local animal control and we are allowed 12 hens! We decided on 5, and my husband has enjoyed working on the building projects to get the area ready. While we will have to wait until we can get some land to add the goats, rabbits and donkey that I have my heart set on, for now we have started our homesteading project with 5 hens! I bought 2 Americaunas, 1 Speckled Sussex and 2 Rhode Island Reds from local feed stores. They are supposed to be about 2 weeks old. We have not 100% settled on names, but tentatively they are: Omelette & Frittata, our RIRs Custard, our Speckled Sussex Meringue & (my favorite) Pavlova, our "Americaunas" (I have read you can't buy real Americaunas in a feed store, but I don't really care if they're not 'pure bred' as we're just interested in eggs, not breeding them or anything) My husband built our brooder with a lumber frame, the unused backing to an old bookshelf as the floor, and cardboard as the sides. We used 1/2" hardware cloth for the lid, and have a red heat lamp suspended over it. My husband added a dowel for them to roost on. He is going to start working on the coop this weekend. We bought plans for one and are expanding it a little since we have 1 more chicken than it's for. I'm hoping to let them have free range over our backyard, but we do have 3 dogs, one of whom is quite the troublemaker, so we won't be trying anything until the girls are full grown. That's all for now! I'll be sure to add some photos once the coop is built and we get them moved out there. Thanks for reading!!!