Hi, I am an ex-Brit, now a US citizen, committed to starting a new life in Idaho, USA after 30 years in the computer industry. My husband and I are building our dream log cabin near Orofino and plan to get somewhat self-sufficient. I want to get some alpacas for fiber production as well as chickens. I couldn't wait to get started and got some chickens early last year, purchasing at a local farm supply store - 2 Black Australorps and 2 Rhode Island Reds and have been keeping them in the back yard of our rental house in town while we finish building on the hillside. This is my first time as a chicken keeper and I have loved being able to access the posts on BYC for help along the way. Sadly I lost all but one of my first flock to either a dog or a raccoon one day. So I adopted one more barnyard cross, Henrietta, from a friend to keep my survivor, Baby, company. That’s Baby’s photo as my avatar. I then ordered 4 more that came in a box in the mail - 2 more Black Australorps (Polly Peck and Daisy) and 2 more Rhodies (Rosie and Sandy). I was heart-broken to lose Baby last month. She had developed a bulge between her legs around November last year. The local vet wasn't confident in the diagnosis (hernia or internal lay) and certainly not to treat it so we ended up taking a wait and see approach because Baby was well to all intents and purposes except for the bulge. Alas the hernia burst and she lost a lot of blood before we got to her. Again, the vet had nothing to offer except to put an end to any suffering. Baby had a great life at the top of the pecking order in our little flock. I just wish it could have been longer. The rest of the flock are doing well, although Daisy, one of the Black Australorps seems to be very slow developing her comb. I’ll post a question on that in the appropriate forum. I’m glad to be able to become a member of this community of chicken lovers. I am totally in love with my little flock and look forward to many years of fun with them all.