Hello. I've been lurking for a couple weeks, and finally decided it was time to introduce myself. My name is Neil, and I live in northern Wisconsin. My fiancee and I decided we would get chickens this spring... As if planning a wedding isn't enough to do. On May 5th, the Post Master called her just before she left for work and told her he had a peeping box for her. She had ordered fifteen Buff Orpingtons and twenty-five Jumbo Cornish X Rocks from Murray McMurray. We've been having great fun every since. It was amazing to see the difference in the two breeds as they grew. At two weeks, I started calling the Corks "the pigs" because they really were... All they wanted to do was eat, eat, and eat. Anytime we went down into the basement, they would crowd up against the wire hoping we would feed them. We spent more time playing with the Orps, since they would be around a lot longer. We always commented how warm the birds were whenever we picked up the first one of the day. And then there was Oddball; our bonus from McMurray. It was stripey, and looked like a masked bandit. We put it in with the Orps. We would look through the catalog trying to match it up with the pictures. It's looking like it's a female Rose Comb Brown Leghorn. We'll be able to tell when she lays an egg since it will be white, as opposed to the Orps' brown eggs. The house my finacee had bought when she moved into the area five-and-a-half years ago was owned by a woman who had a dog kennel and grooming service. There is a wonderful out-building, about 20-by-30, which had dog pens inside and fenced-in runs outside. We pulled out two "walls" to turn four pens into two. There's electricity and water, and a small garage door at each end. We're looking at putting in a couple windows to allow more sunlight and fresh air. We had formed a little co-op with some co-workers, so we had help butchering the Corks on July 3rd. (Family had come up for the holiday weekend, but wanted nothing to do with it.) Our friends were all experienced bird hunters, and one had done chickens before, so it went very well. A friend at church loaned me his chicken plucker... It was a homemade wonder; a section of a blue, plastic barrel, with a spinning metal bottom, and scores of rubber fingers sticking in from the sides and bottom. It plucked a chicken in less than fifteen seconds. There was very little hand-work, mostly along the wings. Everybody was thoroughly amazed, and we were done in less than three hours. The cleaned birds weighed in at five-to-six pounds. We split the birds with these friends, and they paid us what it cost us to raise them. We roasted the first one on the 5th, and it was delicious. A couple Saturdays ago, we finally put up some bird netting on the outside runs, and we've been letting the ladies outside during the days. They've been having the greatest time eating weeds, chasing bugs, and rolling in the sand. We love our chickens. They're sweet, little ladies. The Orps are a beautiful, buttery gold, and Oddball is energetic and inquisitive. And even though they're only eleven weeks old, we're just about hold our breaths waiting for eggs.