Hi - I'm Jen We just bought and moved to 2.5 acres in Mission BC. We were planning on chickens in a year or so to get ourselves settled...but it turns out the former owners of this place left us their 20 malnourished chickens and run down coops! It's been a fun, challenging process bringing our birds back to health - we're now at about 13 eggs a day (we have 5 roosters...), and our birds no longer poo in their food (they had nowhere else to go that was reasonably poo free before we got here). We'll start building them a new, clean, insulated coop in a few weeks (ideas anyone?). My mother, who is just starting her own flock this year, strongly recommended I join this forum as I'm constantly bugging her and the local feed store for ideas and suggestions to take care of this flock. The funny/nice thing is that the birds clearly appreciate my efforts and come running full-speed at me the moment I poke my head outside. They even tolerate my son helpfully throwing lettuce at them (he's not yet 2) and my new pup helping himself to their evening handouts of cuttings and leftovers. Today's bird challenge is the icky little bugs that jumped all over my arms while I was cleaning/egg gathering. It wouldn't surprise me that they have mites or lice or something. I've spread some diatomaceous earth (sp?) in their bedding, but I think I need more. The birds are rather suspicious of my activities, though, and always approach their coops cautiously when I spread new substances in there (though, apparently, they really like the pine shavings I heaped in there after scraping out the 6-inch layer of crusty poo they were living on!) Anywho - not to bore anyone here. I'll post some pics and be poking around the forums over the next few days for ideas and suggestions on how to get these guys back to optimum health. Oh - what I have...lol. I have 10 black and whites in the yucky coop - no idea of their ages - they were in the worst shape. They don't lay too many eggs, but the eggs they do produce are very large. Three of the blacks in this coop are roosters. The slightly nicer coop has a bantam rooster, a couple of silkies, and another rooster that I can't identify (colored like a bantam, but smaller and with very feathered feet) and 5 or so of these very nice brown little hens that are quite social but shy and always flocked together. This group is interesting in that they only poo in a designated area in their coop and are, in general, cleaner seeming than the bigger birds.