Hi everyone, I am new to BYC, new to chickens, AND new to Eastern Ontario. Whew! DH and I moved to Eastern Ontario to a lovely acreage with an 1878 brick home in Sept'10. We plan to clear a lot of the bush on the property and make it our hobby farm. We moved across the country with our dogs (6), cats (2), and horses (3). I really want some chickens! I would like chickens for bug control but also eggs! I love fresh, free range eggs. But never having kept chickens or birds of any variety before, I need help! I have been doing lots of reading on this site but I wanted to get some input from those members who live in the colder climates same or similar to my own... What are some good breeds of chickens that are moderate egg layers (there are two off us so I don't need tons of eggs although the dogs wouldn't say no), healthy and easy to handle for a poultry newbie, and are suitable for the climate? I'm not adverse to dual purpose birds although I don't think I could eat my first chickens (pets!). I would also like an ornamental bird or two (love Silkies!). I am not too concerned of bantam vs. standard. So far, I've come up with a short list. Please tell me if I'm off with my choices and/or please make your own recommendations! In no particular order: 1. Americauna/Araucanas 2. Australorps 3. Dominique 4. Silkie Can anyone recommend any good hatcheries in Canada to get chickens? I know I can go across the border to get chickens but think it might be easier at first to start domestically... Also, if you have a small flock do you insulate the coop or keep chickens indoors (in a heated barn?) in the winter? I'm just not sure how cold tolerant chickens are! I'm really eager to get chickens in the spring so I'm being research gal!