First time poster and first time chicken owner. My wife and I have talked about raising chickens for years but never took the plunge. In light of the recent economic downturn, and what may be on the horizon, we decided this Fall would be a good time to start. We consider it a step towards self-sufficiency in case things get really bad (I know, I sound like a kook!). Plus we've always wanted chickens. Soooo, we ordered 12 Red Stars and 13 Black Australorps from McMurray this fall and I started building a coop. My wife said it had to look good if it was going to be in the yard, so it took longer than I thought. Did it pretty cheap with a lot of lumber I had around, and the siding is all made of individual fence board from and old fence that was tore down. It was a lot of trouble cutting each board to length, but it looks good and was free! I did have to re-paint it though as my wife did not like the original red. Anyway, 4 weeks later it's almost finished. Still have to finish the run and a few odds and ends. We've had our chicks for 2 weeks and we love them! They provide lot's of entertainment. We also got a "bonus bird" in our order, and we eagerly await being able to identify it. The kids think the chicks are great. Here are a couple of pics of "Fort Clucks", and my already "pet hen" Hen-rietta. Anyway, thanks to all on the board. I've learned a lot in the past few weeks and gotten lot's of help and ideas from sifting through the message board. We don't have a clue what we are doing, but we are having fun trying!