So, I have to make a confession right off the bat. I have actually been lurking on the BYC Forum for awhile and now I have finally bitten the bullet and decided to actually register. So here I am making my introduction, although I feel that there are so many on this site that I know already. When I first lit on the idea of having a backyard flock, I wanted to make sure that I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. I used this site as a resource many times. Then I started getting sucked into the stories of people and their feathered passions. I actually found myself shedding tears for the loss of "Writer of Words" rooster Nugget. Well, when I hit that point I knew the time had come to finally join this forum. I am a mother of 3 children (aging 11 yrs-5yrs), and 4 Black Australorps (BA's) ages 8 weeks, and 1 Easter Egger (EE) also 8 weeks. All raised in my garage from 1 day chicks. (I wouldn't have it any other way. It truly endeared them to our family.) I don't think we have ever spent so much time in the garage! This is my first experience with chickens, and like so many others...I have been sucked into a whole new realm. I find myself dreaming of the day when my husband retires and we can move out of the city to a small acreage and I can start breeding my own chickens. I can't help pulling up breed charts from multiple websites and doing comparisons to find the next additions to my humble little flock. (Currently, I am obsessing on the idea of breeding Hollands someday and hoping that they survive long enough to be a breeding project for me down the road!-A gal can dream can't she?!) Before we adopted our lovely little feathered girls, my oldest daughter and I spent 3+ months reading books, trolling websites and collecting as much information and advice as we could. Then it came down to convincing my husband (who is NOT a pet person) that getting chickens was a good idea. My oldest put together a fantastic power point presentation pointing out all the benefits of owning a backyard flock. That did the trick and he finally relented and off the kids and I went to the local feed store to get our girls. (To be fair, he has been really great about the whole thing. He even made a portable collapsable protective run so that my young chickies could range on the yard and still be safe!) So far, with all the wonderful advice and information that has been posted on this site and others...we really haven't had any difficulties (knock on wood) and our girls are growing beautifully! But, now I am hooked! Our family resides in the Pacific Northwest where we have lived for the past 13 years. Although there are really only two seasons (Rainy and Not Rainy) we call it home and love this area. Right now we are looking at summer and there is nothing like the Not Rainy season in the Pacific Northwest. It is mild, green, lush and beautiful! Here is a picture of the kiddos and their chickies! And another shot of the 4 BA fluff balls! Finally, what I like to call our chick (4 weeks old in this pix) day care pen. That's my oldest's homework on top of the pen. She likes to do her homework where she can watch the chicks. Well, that pretty much covers our family and our flock...so it is nice to be, well for lack of better words...legitimate now.