Hi! I'm new to BYC and to chicken keeping! My husband and I had been talking about chickens since we moved into our current place a year ago. The inspiration was our landlord (very cool guy) talking about how he managed to convince his "Orange County, suburb-raised wife" to move out to Jamul with him and have a flock of chickens, goats, dogs, and two crazy kids and how he went into halfway on a pig with a friend and they were the "best ribs he's ever had." Well, we're in the city, so can't quite go that far, but we do have a giant (sadly, mostly dirt over terrible clay soil) lot with plenty of space for our two dogs. No kids yet, so we finally decided to get hens! (For eggs and for the company) We had tragedy with the first girl (Honey - a golden comet) we brought home - honestly think she was already sick when we picked her up, since the seller had already put her in a USPS box because she said she "had to catch her" and discouraged us from opening the box to check on her (we could see only through the gap on the sides) because "she'll fly away." When we got her home, she was very sweet, calm, let me pick her up, and I noticed one of her wings didn't seem to move like the other one. She also had tiny translucent things crawling around her eyes, so I dusted under her wings and around her vent with DE and provided her with water, fresh food, and fresh bedding also lightly dusted with DE. Next day confirmed when she flapped with only one wing to get on a shelf in the house that she definitely couldn't move the one wing. Over the next few days, her condition deteriorated. The second day, she would eat what I gave her, but she seemed lethargic and would seem to fall asleep standing up. The third day she seemed more lively, but I had to clean up major pasty butt with green poop all around. I gave her a sitz bath with epsom salts. Put some dewormer in her feed and changed the bedding and water again. At least she was eating. Fourth day she was completely lethargic, and I had to move her out of the box she was sleeping in. Googled everything that could be wrong with her and while trying to check her crop found her breast bone protruding. She had poop crusted again, but more because she literally pooped while laying there, wouldn't move. Wouldn't touch her feed. Wouldn't drink water. Died early morning on the fifth day. I cried so much because she was my first hen, and she was so curious and sweet the first day that I'd already fallen in love with her. But we did bring home two other girls (Momma was a Serama, Daddy was a Milles Fleurs D'Uccle, 5 months old, so they're both tiny!) the day after. They are still doing well and still with us. The lady who sold them to us invited us in to see her whole setup (chicken heaven!) and there was a bunch of adorable little silkie pullets running around, though the older hens and roos were already roosting and ready to sleep. Also a big ol' broody turkey, a sweet but vocal blue heeler, and a black cat that protected the flock. Their names are Sienna (guess what colour she is!) and India (black with a spattering of coppery brown around her neck). The day we picked them up, the lady said one of them had laid her first egg, though it was tiny, but we didn't know which one. They haven't laid again since, though I keep finding Sienna's feathers and some of India's, so I'm assuming they're just moulting. Funniest personalities. Will get close to me if I'm offering food but cautiously back away if I reach my hand out. Even though we don't have a lot of dangers in our area, I'm okay with them being cautious birds. They're also great fliers, but I confined them to their little coop and run for the first week, so now even when I let them out (supervised) an hour before sunset, they stick close to the coop when they even come out, and then tuck right back in for bed. I just started fermenting the Scratch & Peck Naturally Free Layer 18% for them, and they absolutely LOVE it.