Got 7 pullets last March, and it was the first time I had had chickens in over thirty years. I had them twice when i was a kid but Grandpa and Grandma did the choosing and deciding (we were neighbors). Grandpa knocked the roosters on the back of the head and snapped their necks on the extra roosters and I helped Grandma with plucking and cleaning. Last time I think I was twelve. Then again when I moved to Marcola, OR when I was in my late twenty's I had them again and did all aspects of chicken farming. One of the Black stars got eaten by a raccoon last year. The other six started laying in July / Aug 2 RIR's; 2 Black Stars, & 2 Red Stars. I had moved into a half acre home outside the Beaverton OR city limits with a small tractor coop and a very large fenced chicken yard. The first Broody Hen - a Black Star started setting on the Golf Balls four days ago & I decided on the spur of the moment to do a few MEAT birds. So I ordered 14 fertile Freedom Ranger eggs that arrive tomorrow. I have a four foot high by six foot square kennel that is being turned into a moving chicken pen once they are big enough just like in the Dr. Mercola U-Tube video interview for free ranging meat bird production. Adding extra wire around the bottom to protect from raccoons, Wire Fence Panel on top with additional smaller gauge wire on top of that. Furthest from the gate will be the roost with an enclosure to protect them from the elements that will be more and more protected as the weather here turns cooler. They will hatch at the end of August 2013, and should be ready at the beginning of November to the middle of November for butchering. Somewhere in there I will be having a larger coop built for the layers so I can increase the number of layers and get a rooster (planning on getting an Ohio Buckeye Rooster) and gradually adding more brown egg layers to the flock. I am nervous about when to move her from the tractor to the chicken kennel, as it is her first time hatching eggs. I have a wooden box I am modifying so there is a lip and only half of the open side will be open. Lip to prevent eggs and pine shavings from rolling out the front. I think she should finish the eggs in the box and not the Tractor. It will be safer. She was a year old the end of February. If she bails on me I have a neighbor who will lend me a incubator / brooder to finish the job. I hope she does it because I am going to be busy during that time. She's never seen a rooster yet, although she can hear the ones down the street and she looks very interested when she hears them. Right now she has five golf balls she is setting with one real egg, until this morning. She added maybe as many as 4 more non-fertile eggs today from her buddies. Do I switch them when the eggs arrive or at dusk? Do I let her stay a whole week in the Tractor Coop before I move her to the box in the kennel? Do I set up the kennel inside the chicken pen under the trees, or outside the chicken pen but next to it? Outside would be easiest for me.. I walk with a cane. If I have to have the kennel moved out of the chicken yard I will have to call in help to catch the birds, and get the kennel lifted over the fence. I am self employed and work out of my home so I can check on them every couple of hours and will know if she changes her mind about being a hatchery for me. The neighbors have 40 chickens, I am thinking I have enough clients to do maybe 14-18 layers at the most right now, but will add more as my egg demand increases. The MEAT birds are for me alone. I like the idea that moving them to a different place on the lawn every day will make it so I don't have to mow the lawn.That is as good as egg production to me. Pay a kid to mow, or feed chickens that will feed me? I am getting raised beds made from used really great cedar soon also. Planted blueberries also, and strawberries. A few fruit trees already here the biggest job is keeping the blackberries down. Hi all. I am glad to be here. One of my clients told me about this site when the girls were just 4 weeks old. I've read lots of books from the library on chickens to refresh my memory and of course on the NET. The layers are very spoiled, not sure I will continue to grate their zucchini for them after there are more layers. Might not cook them oatmeal either then. We will see. I am sure others would think they are too spoiled but they process clumps of weeds for me getting the bugs etc. out of the roots and turn it all, shredding and pooping on it. Very effective at it too. They compost all sorts of weeds, grass, worms, bugs - and separate it all from the dirt really very handily.