I have been a member for several years, yet I have not been on this site for a while. I have a few questions to post, but I will take minute to introduce myself. I have 5 acres all fenced in with two coops. One 10x8 delivered from the Amish unpainted. Which is adorned in yellow with a brown roof with flower boxes in the windows. The other I was a hand built playhouse 8x4 that I got off craig's list and painted it to match (even painted the shingled roof). These two coops are in another fenced in area with detachable fence between the two so i can bring up babies that can interact with the older hens without intermingling. All my chicks are hand raised and held daily in the house till they feather out (I use a large outdoor cat cage or dog cage and put it in my hallway. I have currently 18 chickens, one goose, three dogs and two cats. That's my backyard farm! I started with chickens 5 plus years ago and decided on mixed breeds of brown egg layers (purely for fun). Babies came from Murray McMurray including 2 Brahmas, 2 Rhode Islands, 4 Newhampshire reds, 4 Buff Orpingtons, 1 white orpington, 4 Red stars and one they through in that I don't know what it is, but it was a girl who played specked brown eggs! I added to my flock two years later from a local kid who hatched unsexed mixed breeds locally. so these birds turned out to be a mixture of birds with some polish, bantam and Auracana in them. They grew up beautifully, and all 7 were hens! All were different. I was happy to have two black silkies out of the mix! Some even laid blue eggs! Last year, I decided to add two Metzer farms Embden geese (females) two work as watch dogs when the birds free range. Over the years, I have grown accustom to an occasional loss, after trying to soak egg bound birds and quarantining the sick, I decided to allow those who succumb to illness pass on. I stopped crying over dead chickens and learned it was part of the experience. Never had any illness wipe out the flock so I was lucky, but I learned last year what a fox can do. So she culled the flock a bit! Good thing cause my birds got lazy at 5 years old and I can't kill them, so nature did for me . It is sad that the fox did not eat all the birds and left many scattered. Even found a dead chicken in the goose pen but the geese were unscathed. Last year, I scooped up 6 Americana's that were in TSC (you have to grab them when you see them ready or not). Well four of six grew up gorgeous roos! I gave them away at 6 months old off craig's list, to a willing recipient of Indian descent whom, I am sure cooked them in curry that night! This year, I added 6 tractor supply ISO browns. They should start to lay by the end of September. These are all hens. Yesterday, I put to rest one of my year old geese, who had succumbed to osteomyelitis from a healing fracture high in her leg. This happened over night two months ago, And since she was young, I let it heal on it's own without vet care. It was too high up in the leg to splint and ORIF surgery was not an option for me. Hindsight, I should have taken her in earlier, as I NEVER thought there was a puncture wound that introduced infection. Sadly, now today, I have one sad lady goose who has been lamenting and looking all day for her friend. The next step is bring her to a farm with other geese, keep her and see how she does alone (she's the more dominant of the two), or get another goose . Now... here's my thoughts on the avian world. Raising chickens is EASY! The coop cleaning and disinfecting takes 1-2 hours every 2-3 months. no biggie! I do not think they smell either. Now geese, on the other hand...stink! Worse if you are bringing them up in the house as babies. They are clean birds, yes... bathing daily if you have a tub for them. They also poop...a lot all over my driveway which I am hosing down constantly! She (the one left) lives outside in her own pen with a small three sided home built house. Yes, they DO put themselves to bed.... by the way like the chickens do... I just needed to encourage that in the beginning. Funny... I free range all day and at dusk, all birds have properly put themselves in the respective house and are lined up on a roost The pullets in one, the geese in another, and the rest in the big hen house . Geese don't roost.. lol..