Hi! I'm brand new. So new, in fact, that I do not yet possess any chickens, lol. I've done extensive research and built my coop, nest boxes, a roost, a chicken tractor and an incubator (I like to be prepared and my husband's an Eagle Scout so he pretty much insists...) and plan to start my little brood this week. My mother in law has an impressive collection in North Alabama and I even slaughtered, cleaned, plucked and cooked two roos last month that she had gotten too annoyed with (they don't usually eat their birds, but these guys were real jerks and I wanted to know if I could handle the task if I'm ever faced with it. Apparently, I can, with an almost disturbing lack of issue). I'm a little concerned about hawks and a lot concerned about heat. It gets pretty dang hot down here, but I know chicken keeping has been going on successfully in Mississippi since time out of mind so I feel like we'll figure it out. If anyone has suggestions for keeping the girls cool in the summer, I'd love to hear them, though I'm sure I can poke around and find a thread on the topic. They have plenty of shade in the coop, but I was hoping to part-time free range them when I'm home over the summer and can watch them while I'm in the garden, but there's not a lot of shade in the rest of the yard. Anyway, hello! I'm looking forward to the (4 a.m.! what?!) chicken swap at Hub City West this Saturday. Also hoping someone will be willing to "swap" for money, since I have no chickens to offer!