New here. I've been reading posts here the past couple days and find it a great place to learn. I've never raised chickens before so I'm learning from the ground up. I'm totally stoked to learn that there are still real unadulterated RIR's! I thought they were all gone 50 years ago. I'm in a tiny apartment at the moment, but will be moving this year 2014 to a larger place with a backyard. I'm thinking of a miniature breed when I do. A few years after that, It's my plan to pick up some land in the central California valley. I hope to be able to find around 50 acres in the foothills of the Sierra to start a small ranch / farm. Then I'll be getting into larger birds. At that point, the small birds will be more of a hobby than anything else. I like the concept of getting larger yolks from the smaller birds eggs. I plan on pasture raising the birds behind my cows. I will use tractors for the meat birds, but not so densely packed as some of the popular youtube video's show. Probably only 1/3 as many birds in a 10x10 tractor. Also using a egg mobile for the layers. I also plan on having some milk goats and meat and milk cows. Making cheese will be one of the ranches products. And pigs. Can't forget the pigs! Haha. At the moment, I see cured pork as being one of the ranches biggest products. Italian deli meats of all kinds as well as some traditional American cured pork products such as cured hams. One of my goals is to raise all the animals feed in house. I plan on using aquaponics to accomplish that goal. I would like to develop a good sized fish farm as a part of that process. Tilapia, catfish and Koi fish. I would also be raising earth worms to improve the pastures and for animal feed, meal worms, sprouted fodder, and probably grasshoppers for additional feed along with the aquaponic stuff. I'm 46 now, and can hardly recognize chicken at the store anymore these days, and want to get away from meat that has chemicals used in it. By chemicals I mean any GMO feed, or antibiotics. I have to go to an Asian market to get something similar to what I grew up eating as a kid these days. I'll give the cross rocks a try, but I don't think I'll be raising them at all. I don't want to raise birds that die of heart attacks or broken legs no matter how they were bread. And yes, I do understand that they are not GM Frankenbirds now, but I want healthy birds. I want to eat healthy birds, and sell healthy birds to my customers. Not something that lives it's whole life knocking on deaths door that is more prone to disease that could carry over to my other birds / animals. I don't think anyone can argue that a healthy bird is less prone to disease. I know there are some factory farmer guys on here from reading the posts. I'll give you that you guys are needed to feed the masses. Let them eat their cake as far as I'm concerned. I want nothing to do with that style of meat production. Therefore, any of my posts are not meant for you guys. I'm just getting that out of the way up front so there is no confusion on the subject. I won't bag on you or the way you do things, and you don't bag on me or the way I do things. I see that as reasonable and fair. PS. I stole my pic from Google since I have no birds as of yet. I believe the bird in the pic to be one of the French pasture birds.