So here we are, entering full retirement (I hope) and planning things we want to do. Jan and I have decided that we want to raise our own chickens for eggs and fried chicken etc. We own 13 acres in the country just outside Columbia, Missouri. So far, it remains zoned Agricultural. I play with my '62 Galaxie and '53 Farmall Super C tractor, I collect records of 50s and 60s music and play a little bass from time to time in smokey old bars. Jan quilts and sews and we both enjoy our grandkids. Every year, we plant a huge garden. I am a Mechanical Engineer and Jan is a Registered Nurse. I am a Navy Submarine veteran and was raised on a huge dairy farm, Hobbs Dairy, near Pittsburgh, Pa. I was a Milkman during highschool on weekends and holidays when school was out. We had our own bottling plant and several trucks that delivered milk, home made butter, dressed chickens, eggs and cottage cheese. All fresh from our farm and home made. Sadly, those days are long gone. Jan was raised in Chicago and is an Avid Cub Fan hoping that this year is the "next year" all Cub fans keep waiting for. On our farm, we had two huge chicken houses and typically had 400 to 600 chickens all the time. Grandad would only have Rhode Island Reds. My brothers and I always had a few Bantys around for fun. So that's us. We think we would like to start with a dozen chickens. Our first task is to build a coop and I have found several I like on the BYC site. We will have our work cut out to make it predator proof as we have racoons, coyotes, red foxes, opposums, red tailed hawks, great horned owls and skunks all around our little farm. My current thought is to make the coop about 8 by 16 ft with a flat sloped roof and fence off an area about twice that size. I think because of the hawks and owls the yard area will have to have the overhead fenced as well. The second task is to settle on a breed of chicken. The top two choices on our list today are the Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns. Any suggestions for others would be much welcome. We want friendly chickens that lay lots of eggs. I do have one other little problem. Jan doesn't think she and the grandkids could stand to see one of their chickens named betsy or something sitting roasted on the dining room table. Very glad we found the site and look forward to lots of chicken chat.