Hi! I am new to this forum. Mu husband & I are very active in the performance dog arena. Having dogs, and concidering the enviornment, I am thinking about getting chickens to help with tick control. We live in Northeastern IL, where the deer tick is common. I have read horror stories about dogs killing chickens, but honestly I'm not concerned with that. My dogs have been around chickens and ducks before and pay them no mind. Plus, we have ducks and geese on the pond and the dogs again pay them no attention. However, I do plan on keeping them seperate; i.e. when the dogs are loose, the chickens are in their run, and when the chickens are loose, the dogs are in the house. My question is..... In a 5 acre parcel, how many chickens are feasible? And what breeds would be recommended? I would enjoy getting fresh eggs for humans and dogs, but I wouldn't image we would eat the chickens. I can imagine eating a pet! Being that they would be 'perposeful pets', I would like 'pretty chickens'! Would anyone recommend Cochins, they are very pleasing to the eye! Also, what ratio between males & females is recommended, being that our primary concern is ticks and secondary eggs? Thanks in advance to everyone who can hopefully point us in the right direction. We are starting from scratch, we need to build the pens yet and everything! So, any information you can provide to a total newbie would be awesome. Thanks!