Hello everyone! My mother and I have been talking about getting chickens for years, but now we are seriously considering it (after a new Tractor Supply Company opened in our town, it just seems like divine intervention!). We are still in the planning stages right now, but I was hoping that we could get some input and advice from this forum before we started. It would help when we try to convince my dad! We have about a 1/2 acre lot in a suburban area in Massachusetts - our particular neighborhood is more rural than other areas nearby, however, and chickens are not unheard of. We also have a 2 year old, 45 lb terrier mix (she is surprisingly lazy and laid back for a terrier), two 9 year old indoor cats (unless I have them in a harness and leash, then they are allowed to explore outside), and my 4.5 year old son. Given our particular family makeup, we are looking for chickens who are good for beginners, good layers, cold weather tolerant, and ideally calm/ docile enough to allow some interaction with my son. I have read good things about Buff Orpingtons and Brahmas, though a friend also suggested Americaunas. I am sure I will have many more questions in the coming weeks, but just poking through this site over the past few days has given me so much information already! Thanks for taking the time to read this!