I've been reading great things about this forum. By way of introduction, I am a transplanted Canadian (grew up on a farm [beef/grain] in Saskatchewan) who is now living on 20 acres near Abilene, TX. I've been living in TX since 1996, but up until this past summer, lived in the city. We recently built a brand new house in the country and are THRILLED to finally be living our dream, out on the farm! Growing up on a farm in Sask, my mother always raised chickens. However, as a child, I didn't have much involvement with them. Now, I'm toying with the idea of getting 3 or 4 chickens, because I really, really want fresh eggs. But, understand. I am an animal lover. So, no chicken slaughter will be happening on my watch . . . err even though there is nothing more tasty than a free range chicken (hopefully I don't offend anyone with that admission). But here are my concerns: 1. My husband and are both work full-time; 2. I own 3 Australian Shepherds, 1 of which I am dead certain would be a "chicken killer." The 3 dogs always stay in a fenced yard, however; 3. I am petrified that introducing chickens anywhere in the vicinity of the house because of the potential to invite skunks, raccoons, snakes (omg!), coyotes and foxes; and 4. I am not a fan of having chicken poop on my front step. So that brings me to a long list of questions which are too numerous to list here. I am off to read some of the posts and articles on this site. But, if there is a particular story anyone wants to share with me about their first experiences, please don't hesitate. I have no clue where to start? For example, where to put the chickens? What to put the chickens in? Will baby chicks be ok all day while I'm at work? And, OMG, what about the unwanted wildlife they will attract? Looking forward to hearing from everyone!