Hello everyone. I have been a "lurker" here off and on for months. I love this site and it has been so helpful as of late. You see, I have always wanted my own "backyard chickens", but never took the big leap...until recently, under rather unfortunate circumstances. I have always admired my Aunt Ginny's flock of little banty chickens. She lived in Virginia and every spring we made the 12 hour drive to spend a week with Aunt Ginny. I was fascinated by the adorable little creatures. Every year I would come home with big ideas on starting my own flock, but after about a week of trying to decide where I would put up a coop...and what kind of housing or fencing to use, along with the overabundance of predators in my area, I would, eventually, decide to wait a while longer. Maybe next year...... Well, this year my beloved Aunt Ginny passed away unexpectedly in October. We made a second emergency trip to Virginia, for maybe the last time. I found a very good home for most of her flock, but just couldn't part with my favorite little rooster and two of the sweetest little hens. I knew they were her three favorites, and it only seemed right that I would adopt them and take care of the little fellas. I brought back my tiny flock in a pet carrier and made a temporary home for them in a 3x5' dog crate in my dining room!!! LOL The day after we settled them in to the cage, along with roosting perch, nest box, food and water, another tradgedy happened. My father had a heart attack. Since my father is deaf and my sister and I are the only family he really has, I had to spend the next week in the hospital as his interpreter and make sure they took good care of him through two surgeries. My husband and oldest son took good care of the chickens for me, but because of school, work and visiting the hospital, they didnt have time to start a coop until last Sunday. My father is doing good....a lot more tired than he was used to...but looks like he will be just fine We decided to go the easy route and bought a 8x8 wooden storage shed kit for the coop, with an enclosed 8X16' outdoor run. The guys got the ground leveled last night, but the days are so short right now here in Michigan, that most of the work will have to be done this weekend. I sure hope to have my babies out of my dining room and into their own place by Sunday. I also have 5 cats (2 indoors and 3 outside), 1 large dog, an african grey parrot, a conure parrot, a cockatiel, a pet box turtle and a fishtank. I have always loved animals and have rescued, and released baby rabbits, squirrels, chipmonks, birds, and even a litter of baby opossums that the mother was hit and killed by a car in front of our house. I hope to have more baby chickens hatch off this Spring...and if not, I will have the pleasure of "shopping" for chicks, as soon as the snow melts! I want to have a flock of 20 or so by summer. I love this site and have found it so helpful. Nice to meet all of you!