Hello Everyone! I am very excited to be starting my flock next month (Dec) after years of wanting to but never having the right situation (HOAs, moves, etc). We just moved to 1.8 acres in Escondido (North SD County) and despite the current HOA rules I am going to give it a shot. We live on top of a hill with no neighbors anywhere close and no one can see into our yard at all. I have a chain link fenced 2000 sqft side yard that is a blank canvas (literally dirt). My biggest worry will be the coyotes and hawks that are regulars in our area due to the large lots and spread out housing. I have purchased 8' tall rolled bamboo fencing to reinforce the outside of 5' chain link fence and plan on wire mesh secured to the bottom and brought out at a 90deg angle towards the outside several feet and covered with flagstones. I have no intention of serving chicken dinners to the local predators... if I can avoid it. I have settled on the 8 hen Garden Coop http://www.thegardencoop.com/ with a possible green roof modification to help with heat control. My daughter is 3.5 years old so I am looking to get hens that will be 'pets' as well as egg layers. She is crazy for all animals and I think chickens will be a great experience for her. I am also 3 months pregnant and I am motivated to raise my chicks to pullets before the baby comes. My current breed wishlist (in order): Black Australorp Barred Plymouth Rock Ameraucana Rhode Island Red Buff Orpington Silver Laced Wyandotte and eventually Silkies After a lot of thought I am going to use a mail order hatchery to get my chicks. Healthy Chicks and More http://www.healthychicksandmore.com/ has the breeds that I want available in December. They require a minimum order of 10 chicks which is a few more than I want but I know some people that may want some extra pullets assuming they all reach maturity. I may even take the hatchery up on the free mystery chick offer just out of curiosity. Well I think I have gone on long enough for my first post. Can you tell I am excited?!