We are new but have really enjoyed this site, searching, reading and learning. I would like to tell you a bit about us. It is November 2010. My husband and I think we are empty nesters...LOL. We are, sort of. All our four children have grown and moved out of the house but have come back and live on our property. We have 50+ acres that are mostly wooded and we have slowly been trying to make improvements. We have three sons and one daughter. We have 7 grandchildren. Three boys and four girls. It has been enjoyable and demanding. We had chickens 26 years ago or so. They were free range chickens with a small thrown together coop. It worked fine and the rooster we had would chase the kids and have a grand ole time until dusk. Then he would fly up onto his tree branch above the coop and keep on eye on his ladies. This spring my husband decided he would like to do that again. I suggested the Rhode Island Reds as they are my favorite. I like their color and just love their eggs!! In the small town we live in he found we could only get an order of 20 chicks.(that may not have anything to do with this small town) Wow! Now what? He thinks 20 is too many, at least for now. He decided to share the order with a friend. I do not remember how it all came to be, but we have four Rhode Island Reds and four white hens that I haven't researched yet to see which breed they are. In preparation of this arrival, my husband made a box with chicken wire, a door with a latch and a wonderful view for all the grandkids to ooh and ah on these cute little chicks. They would come running after school so they could pet their chick. They all had fun chosing "their own" chick and giving it a name. We would let them hold them only a bit as we didn't want them to "hurt" them. I think we made a big mistake. Anyway, it was cute how as the chicks grew, they couldn't continue to tell which was which except for one of our granddaughter's choices. She could tell hers. After weeks went by, none of could tell who's was who's except we ALL could find hers. The coloring was different AND it was a rooster not a hen. She named him Forest. Poor ladies, they go without names...will have to remedy this. Now these chicks are getting big...so grandpa decided to make a coop. The grandsons helped him make the "door" and were quite excited. He placed the coop and patiently dug holes for posts and a trench. They buried chicken wire two feet in the ground and put another row on top and patiently tied these two strips together to keep predators out. The "fenced" area has worked very well and our brood has their own "yard". Grandpa was smart and made a door to enter the "yard". He poured cement under it so that a fox or any other threat could not dig under to get inside. They could try!! This has worked quite well. We go out every day to feed them "treats", gather their eggs and say hello. The ladies cluck to us and we cluck back. They come running to the door of the fence when they see or hear us near. My daugher had to do the gathering of eggs one week and got really mad. She said she went to give them some scratch then Forest pecked her calf. She said..."He waited until I turned my back..so he's the real chicken!" Their treats consist of either a couple handsful of scratch or kitchen scraps. Boy they really love tomatoes!! It has been fun and they are pretty cool. I just wonder if we now, at this late date, could get the hens accustomed to human touch again? I like going out to gather the eggs and when I come out of the "yard" and walk around the fence...there's Forest walking inside the fence following me. He has raised his feathers at me and the first time it really scared me, thought he was gonna fly on my head! LOL I just stand my ground now...go ahead Forest..you just try. I really don't know what I'd do, as the only thing I have in my hands to defend myself is the basket with the eggs! And so this is my chicken story for now. I do have some questions, besides the few in here, and will post them in the appropriate titled forum. I believe it will be the "emergency etc...etc." Smiles to all from the peanutgallery!