Hi there, Not yet a chicken owner, but I am looking to start this Spring. At present, I am a little intimidated from all of the things I would like to do and the level of expense that will all require, from chick-starting equipment to feeders and waterers for my adult birds, fencing and/or electric netting and/or a chicken tractor, slaughter gear for my meat birds, and winter light timers and water heaters for my layers. I understand that a lot of this can be used year over year, but it's still feeling very steep. We have a chicken coop already on our property, with the floor level of the coop sunk about 12-18" into the ground. I've never seen a coop like this before, but it has big south facing windows, roosts, and laying boxes so I figure that's what it is... it needs some major clearing out and cleaning up work done, and it doesn't have electricity run to it. So there's a whole list of jobs that will need to be done there. Does anybody know much about this type of coop? We also have a barn with horse stalls. The barn does have electricity (which will come in handy for a winter light and water heater), and I figure we could turn one of the horse stalls into a coop, and let the chickens have the run of the whole barn during the winter when they won't want to go out in the snow. The problem with the barn is that it has very little natural light. We live on 10 acres in Eastern North Dakota. My husband and I are both city born-and-raised, but were seeking a quieter life (and lower property taxes), which is what brought us to living rurally. We currently have two dogs and two cats. Eventually we'd like to add goats, and perhaps try our hand at other livestock animals as well, though not right away. Let's get this chicken thing figured out first. At present, I'm considering getting a few each of the heavy breeds such as Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps, Rocks, Orpingtons, and an extra handful of Dark Cornish for meat birds. I understand that raising your own chickens for meat is never going to be as inexpensive as buying CAFO chicken and eggs from the grocery store, and that's fine. I don't want CAFO meat and eggs. The reason we want to raise our own meat and eggs is to give these animals a proper life complete with grass, bugs, sunshine, room to move around, and free of hormones. But right now, I'm worried. I'm worried about losing my birds to predators, or the North Dakota cold. I'm worried about what it's going to be like on butchering day -- I've been hunting before, but taking the life of something you raised is going to be very different and rightly difficult. Plus, I've got no idea what I'm doing, and my inexperienced hand could very well mean undue suffering for my meat birds. I'm even worried I'm going to hate the whole experience and my chickens will all be buttholes. Anyway, here I am!