I'm not sure that I am really new to chicken raising. When I was a kid we had them for a couple of years until the neighbors complained and the city made us get rid of them. But we've only had ours since March. I have 4 EE's and 2 Buff Orpingtons and I'm hoping that I've talked my husband into 4 Australorps next spring. He loves the buffs but I want different colors to have some chance of telling the silly things apart. In addition to the chickens I have 6 kids (19 to 4), a dog (who loves to guard the chickens and lick them every chance she gets) 3 parakeets, hamster, rabbit and several fish. I found this forum when I was working to talk my husband into getting them in the first place. We were inspired by many of the coop designs. In addition to the chickens and kids I work full time and try to raise food in my garden. I also quilt, cross stitch, sew, chrochet, and other things when I have time. Lately this doesn't seem to be occuring much. I also have been working on making homemade bread and yogurt. The bread making is getting better and I've aced the yogurt. (Yea!!) Once I perfect the bread, I'm on to rolls.