I've been lurking here for awhile, so thought I should finally make a formal introduction. We live on 3 acres by Calabasas, California & have just begun our chicken adventures. We have 2 horses, 1 pony, a giant Leonberger outdoor dog, an indoor pomeranian, a Bengal cat, a Siamese cat & 2 Sulcata Tortoises & kids. To be honest, I've always been a little bit afraid of chickens, probably due to some negative rooster encounters when I was a kid. Nevertheless, when I stopped at the feed store in the first week of June to purchase our weekly hay, something prompted me to ask about the chicks. I was thinking that we'd start with two, but they suggested 3 in case one didn't make it (sounds like chicks are the goldfish of the farm animal world). We left with 2 Buff Orpingtons(Sally & Omelette) who were described as super friendly, perfect pets & a Barred Rock (Spot). We covered the drain hole in a walk-in shower we don't use & used a flake of alfalfa hay for bedding. I purchased an adorable wooden decorative wagon on clearance at HomeGoods for them to perch on (They love it!). The chicks were sweet, friendly & funny & we were hooked! Within a week, we had added a Black Sex-Link (Dot) & an Americauna (Flower) to our 'shower coop'. Of course, the chicks led me to BYC where I discovered Silkies & Showgirls. We have now completed (at least for now) our flock with two black Silkies (Disco & Daiquiri) & 3 Partridge Showgirls (Lola, Martini & Ganzel). We have the 5 Silkies all together in an enormous dog crate. We're planning two separate outdoor coop runs. I got an adorable handmade large dog house for free on Craigslist that I'm converting into a coop for the Silkies & I'm still looking for something suitable for the others. I also got a portable dog exercise pen on Craigslist to bring the bigger kids outside for grazing. We've got tons of predators where we are: coyotes, hawks, snakes, owls...so I'm going to be very protective of our kids. Our neighbors with chickens who sell eggs weekly at the bus stop told me 'predators only eat the chickens with names'.... I'm sure I'll be stopping by regularly asking for advice & sharing our adventures. Looking forward to getting to know you guys!