I am a recently retired engineer. I grew up on a dairy farm and have been around animals all my life. My parents had chickens when I was young but got out of that business when I was about 10. I have raised beef cattle and had rabbits for a while too. I never really considered raising chickens myself until last year when my daughter & her family were looking for a house to buy. They have a daughter who was 1-1/2 yr old at the time. They looked at a house where the owner had a chicken coop with a pen. My granddaughter just fell in love with the chicks. They didn't buy the house but my daughter had gotten the bug that she wanted chickens. I bought her a couple of books on chickens but before I got to see her again I had read them. Well, guess what - I realized that chickens would be pretty good for us too. I read and researched some more & ordered a mix of 12 chicks, hatched October 29. I converted an old storage shed to a coop and raised the babies in the sun room to 5 weeks. December weather was pretty mild so they went to the coop in mid December. I put up a 20'x20' dog pen for them to run in. After they had been in the coop for a few weeks I tried letting them run free. Not sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised they didn't run off or cause any problems. They have not spent another day in their pen since that first day of free-range. I'm still learning as I go but I have gained a lot from reading the discussions and Learning Center material here on BYC. I appreciate what this site offers. We let them get acclimated to outdoors a little at a time... Here I'm just playing with the wide angle lens.