Hi I just joined last week as I was looking for some input into a sick chick problem. Thanks to all who gave me their time. My name is Ann. I live with my husband, 7 year old son, and 6 parrots (we lost one last Thanksgiving). We just sold our home and are now beginning building a house out on our farm. At the farm we have 3 Paint horses, and a whole lotta chickens (with more on the way, always) that belong to my son, Alex, who would like to be a chicken farmer. (1) Are you new to chickens / when did you first get chickens? I grew up raising meat birds. If we didn't hunt it, fish it, or raise it we didn't eat it, so we raised 600 chickens, various geese, 25 turkeys, and ducks on and off. We would also raise a pig. When we were kids we used to catch a chicken and then we would dress it up in doll clothing and play with it. They hated it! When I became an adult I wanted nothing to do with farm type life. I prefered to go to the grocery store. My older son, John who is 28, wants nothing to do with our farm as a result. Although he does enjoy watching the chickens antics and finds the roos terribly amusing. Over the years I've help people build coops, runs, clean coops, gave advice, helped doctor, and was back up care for numerous friend's poultry. And having had a parrot since I was three, I've always had birds in my life. I've always said the only thing more neurotic than a human is a bird. A few years ago we decided that we wanted to have more room to do the things we like to do. Joe, my husband, likes to shoot and practice with his bow. He also wanted to get a horse (we now have three), so we began our search for some land or a farmette that was big enough. We wanted more than 10 acres. We found it about 20 months ago. Then I told my husband we were getting chickens. He said no. One saturday I woke him up and said lets go get our chickens He grudgingly went along to help. We got 6 hens and 4 roos that were 6 months old. My son fell in love................. Alex named his hens Amanda, Ezmeralda, Big Bertha, Henny Penny, Drucilla, and Pricilla. The Roos were named Chicken Licken, Cocky Locky, Liberachi, and Rudy. We kept Rudy. (2) How many chickens do you have right now? 74! We culled three of the 4 roos and my husband built the rest a coop, so he could get them out of my greenhouse. I rather enjoyed sitting out there watching their antics, but you can't start plants and have chickens in the same room. You end up with dirt covered chickens that have happily eaten those yummy sprouts you provided. They lay eggs that tell me they must have some EE in them. Ezmeralda lays a beautiful blue egg and Pricilla and Drucilla laid green which means they have some EE in there somewhers. The others Amanda and Big Bertha lay pink eggs and Henny Penny lays a brown egg with speckles. We lost Pricilla this last winter. We got the well put in last march and moved the now three horses from where we were boarding them and the chickens to their new coop. My older son did miss their crowing at 2 or 4 in the morning. Then later last spring we got 42 chicks from the same hatchery I grew up using. We ordered 25 cockrels and 15 straight run RIR. I didn't want Alex to fall in love with too many of them and we told him we would only keep the hens. We got 8 hens and kept the rare breed roo that came with them. He is Smokey and he is a Lakenvelder. The first hen that kept jumping the fence Alex named Helen. She would jump out and run over to him looking for a treat. She loves grapes. Then came Rosie Red. She's quit the character. You can hollar her name and she will come running from where ever she is like a little feathered torpedo. I think Alex loves her best. Alex named the rest of them Amelia, Julie, Cindy, Isabella, Bernie and Bobbie. They all lay wonderful brown eggs. Over the summer Ezmeralda went really broody, so I let her hatch some eggs. She hatched our 7, but flung the first to hatch and killed it. She was an excellent mother after that. She raised up 3 girls and three boys of which we still have 2 of the girls and all of the boys. The girls Harriett and Charlotte both have some feathering on their legs and lay a blue egg and a green egg respectively. Over the winter we were given 5 hens that are of indeterminant age. Sydney looks to be speckeled sussex, and she lays a hugh chocolate egg with dark speckles. Poke it Dot is a mixture of ? She is Black with white and blue (and I mean really blue) dime size dots all over. She just started laying pastel pink eggs. Star is a Black star. She lays a hugh dark brown egg. Snert is of unknow origin. She is white and looks like she slept under all the other chickens and got pooed on. She is a sweet girl, but seems to have a calcium deficiencey. Her eggs are very brittle, so we are begining treatment to try to get her calcium up. Snoball is white with a permanant bald spot. She lays and almost coral colored egg that is small in size and has orange colored bumps on it. In March we recieved 26 Rainbow layers from the hatchery. We lost 12 of them total. Apparently there was a problem with the Cocci vaccine, but the remaining are doing great and are quit lively. In February we were given 36 3 1/2 month old pullets. On died on the way home as I hadn't expected that many and they were shoved in way to tight. Apparently once they were no longer in their cute stage she lost interst in them. They are a mixture of Silver laced Wyadottes, Red Star, and Buff Orphingtons. So far we have only named 2 of them. Peanut and Maude. In May we will be getting 50 Cornish X, 25 rainbow layers (the hatchery is sending all new to replace the ones that died), 25 turkeys (I love turkeys they are so very sweet and lovable) 4 geese and 6 ducks. The ducks and geese with be working in my gardens and strawberry beds. Then in June the hatchery is sending me 25 more Rainbow layers. I love my hatchery they have always taken very good care of me and my family. (3) What breeds do you have? We don't know all of what we have as some of them are farm yard blends. I do know that we have a Lakenvelder roo, some Red Stars, Silver Laced Wyadottes, Buff Orpingtons, RIR. Of Parrots I have an African Grey, 2 Umbrella Cockatoos, a Quaker, and two Pacific Parrotlets. We lost Julian our Sun Conure over Thanksgiving. He was my older sons parrot and would have been moving to my sons apartment after the holiday. We had a real difficult time with that. Julian was the "Baby" and was terribly spoilt. There will forever be a hole in my heart with out him. (4) How did you find out about BackYardChickens.com? I found BYC when my son, Alex, and I were looking at different breeds and deciding what kind of chickens we wanted. I grew up raising chickens, but never had them for true pets. We wanted to get a dual purpose, so egg laying ability was important. BYC has some great info on breeds and uses. (5) What are some of your other hobbies? Gardening. I raise a hugh garden all year. I keep plants in pots and grow things over the winter to keep us and now the chickens in fresh greens all year. I love our horses. We are still green with them, but we are learning right along with them. Our horses are 2 coming 3 olds and a coming two year old. We are training them ourselves. Our oldest gelding is still growing so much that we don't try to set on him to much, but our mare is built like a tank. She could get ridden if we were at that stage with her. When we got her she had never even been haltered, so she has required a lot of work. I also love to read. My older son and I read much of the same stuff, so we exchange books and get together to discuss them. Alex is looking forward to the time when he can read the same books as us. (6) Tell us about your family, your other pets, your occupation, or anything else you'd like to share. My husband, Joe, hate the chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, or anything else Alex and I acquire, but he will help build things sometimes. He also sells the eggs at his gym. He is always telling the chickens they need to start putting out more. The lively roos agree. I'm from a large family, 4 brothers and 3 sisters. We raised much of what we ate. If we didn't hunt it fish it or raise it we didn't even know it existed. So canning, freezing, drying, smoking, or pickling was my life. And now that I'm much older it is once again. I have many health issues so being able to control what I eat helps. Alex understands that the turkeys are meat, but he still enjoys playing with them. He loves to show other children how to find the best alfalfa for them and he names each and every one. Our neighbor told everyone they were eating Elisabeth for Thanksgiving. My son, Alex, would like to get 8 sheep, 2 pigs, 3 calves, and 3 goats to add to his farm experience. We just sold our house in town so now we are getting things organized to build. Once we have a house out there we will let him have the rest of his animals. He's very good about feed, water, cleaning and general care.