Obligatory intro post: Hi, Im Sarah, and I live on 2 acres near Newark, Delaware, with my partner "J" and our motley crew of six dogs, one Siamese cat, one pigeon, and now one chicken! Oh yes, and we also have 3 giant koi in the pond that came along with the property when J. bought it. LOL. Id been living with and caring for my elderly father until earlier this year when he finally moved into long-term care, at which point J & I combined households. At the time, J had 4 dogs, while I had 2 dogs, 2 cats (one was very elderly and ill and died a few months later), and the pigeon. Cassidy, the pigeon, is a white homer that I found while walking the dogs s/hed been hit by a hawk and was emaciated and unable to fly. I nursed Cass back to health, and s/he is currently living as a house pet in a big cage in the spring I hope to build a small loft & flight pen and get a young hen homer; Cass response will tell me if s/he is a hen or cock, and I can then add one or two more birds of appropriate gender to balance things out. Im also planning, with Js full cooperation, to put in a garden this spring, and had broached the subject of getting a few chickens... he wasnt entirely enthusiastic about the idea, partially due to having experienced the smell of chicken houses in the past (in college he did cleaning at a Perdue factory farm) and partially because one of our neighbors has (as I understand it) expressed in the past that he cant stand having a rooster nearby. However, as Ive posted in other threads, a young hen mysteriously showed up on the parking lot at Js office, and he not only called me to come and catch her, but agreed to let me bring her home rather than leave her with a local bird rescue. Several of his co-workers were sure she was a Delaware Blue (they'd seen real ones, given where we live ), but she's actually some sort of crossbreed, with feathered legs and five toes - there are pictures in the "What breed/gender" section of the forum. And hes told me hes not opposed to letting her have some free range in the yard, as well as that he doesnt want her staying in the house long term (I dont either, although shes a sweet-natured bird whos going to be a good pet) so . Im figuring well get this bird set up with outdoor accommodation, as well as an area for supervised semi-free range, and then maybe in the spring see if hes up for getting her a couple of female companions. Most of our 2 acres is enclosed with 5-foot farm mesh, with one side being 5-foot chain link, although theres a short section near the house thats 4-foot chain link; so Im thinking that if we go ahead and fence in the area Im planning to garden in wed have to do it in the spring to keep the dogs from trampling things the chicken can have exercise time there, too. We do have a barn on the property, but its set up for horses not to mention that weve got furniture from my dads house stored in one stall, and our agility and camping equipment in the other, so its not available for animal usage. I dont think we can give the chicken real free range, given that Js dogs pretty much have full run of the property 24/7, but I'm thinking a combo of the garden area and a movable pen should keep her pretty happy. As a side note re run of the property, my dogs dont get free run because my terrier is an escape artist, and theyre also small, which makes them potential targets for predators at night. I hasten to add that ALL the dogs are house dogs; they have a dog door and can come in whenever they want. We also have a tiny back bedroom which J had never used other than for sometimes housing foster dogs for a couple of local rescue groups; we installed a screen door in the doorway, and it became the bird-and-cat room which is off limits to the dogs. Robyn, the Siamese (who was also a foundling, btw) doesnt get along with one of Jeffs dogs, so he and Cassidy live in there, although Robyn gets to spend time with us either in the bedroom or in the room of the house where we keep our computers, musical instruments, cameras, and so forth.. its babygated off, and only the little dogs & Robyn are allowed. The chicken is currently in the bird-and-cat room, and well figure out some outdoor accommodation over the weekend. This is getting longish, so Ill wind up by describing our dog pack: Js crew are all hounds. He has two Bassets full sisters from two different litters, who are 11 and 12 years old a 3-year-old Bloodhound (given to him by a co-worker who couldnt deal with her, go figure), and an Otterhound whos currently 8 months old and already around 70 lbs. I have a crossbred working terrier (Jack Russell X Zwergpinscher), whos between 5 and 6, and the only boy in the gang, and an odd little mix whos sort of a miniature lurcher shes half old-fashioned Pomeranian and half either Italian Greyhound or Whippet. We compete in dog agility trials with all of them but the Otterhound, whos too young yet; all but the Bloodhound do well. She *has* done well enough in occasional runs to earn a title, but tends to do several obstacles, then catch a scent and start working it. :-D At any rate, Im already finding this forum a good resource, and am glad to have found yall!