Last August, my DH, our 5 kids, 1 pointer, 1 fat old cat and myself, made the big move from downtown city living to country life. DH's company moved to a smaller city on the other side of the province, so we used the opportunity to sell our big victorian house with a city-sized lot, and bought a raised bungalow in serious need of help with 2 acres of orchard and a market garden, right in the middle of a working 56 acre orchard and produce farm. It has been a great move for us. Then we got it into our heads that we would like to have some laying hens. Originally I thought 7 would be enough, then DH said he wanted to raise some broilers too. Somehow, during the evolution of our plan, we have abandoned the idea of raising broilers (well DH has gone in on some with a friend who is raising them on his farm), and now we are hoping to end up with 24 hens, and one watch-rooster. Our severance didn't include any of the outbuildings, so DH has been building a largish shed, with storage, and a lean-to coop and lean-to woodshed. Here it was a few days ago, it has since progressed a bit more. I spoke with Jason Cain at Performance Poultry, and he thought that he had chicks on hand that would fulfill our desires (good mix of eggs, and a visually appealing flock). On Mother's day, I went to pick up our new chicks! We brought home 12 Buff Catalana pullets, 5 Buff Chantecler pullets, 4 Barnevelder pullets, 5 Ameraucana mixed gender and variety, 6 Buff-Laced Polish mixed gender and 1 Buff Brahma cockerel. They were already 2 weeks old. I am amazed at how different the personalities of each breed are already. Does anybody else have barnevelders? Are they easy to handle? So far they and the Ameraucanas seem to be the most skittish. When we put them into the kid's pool that we bought for them, the biggest Ameraucana made a break for it, flying over the side and evading capture and hiding behind some storage bins. We eventually got her out, while DH was building a brooder box out of the lumber he has for the shed. He made it 3 feet high and 5X5. We are hoping that the coop is ready for next week. My 10 year old, Damon, has been sitting with the chicks for hours making sure they are doing okay. Campbell, the 8 year old, He was also thrilled that now we could really call ourselves "Hobbit Farmers", when asked what that meant, he said, "Oh yeah, Hobby Farmers." Kira and Hanna love to watch them and occasionally pet a chick that Damon or I hold for them. The Buff Brahma cockerel was very quickly named "Rodney" by the boys, but Kira told my mom that he was called "Rotten-y" because he was a rotten boy. Here he poses for the camera in front of his "peeps". I had the lovely chore of wiping little Rodney's hind end with a dampened paper towel so that he doesn't "paste up". I never would have guessed that I would spend my Mother's Day willingly wiping a chicken's bum. But with all of the human bums I have wiped over the years, I was just the mom for the job. So far Rodney is very easy to handle, docile and gentle. With all of this special attention his toilet habits seem to be getting him, we hope that he will develop into a very friendly and docile rooster, not a "rotten-y" one. My 12 year old, Patrick is very excited about the Polish chickens. He wants to name them after himself (a hen named "Patrick Junior") . They are already amazingly calm and friendly with us. Here is one in Patrick's hands. Does anybody near me need a Buff-laced Polish rooster or two that are used to children? How about an Ameraucana rooster? I think I'll have a white or wheaten, and a silver or black. Damon has chosen one of the Buff Catalanas as his favourite. He calls her "Sissy" and holds her a lot. She seems to enjoy it. Campbell is very wisely waiting for the chickens to grow up before he decides which one is his favourite. Four year old Kira likes the yellow chantecler chicks, and 1 year old Hanna likes any chick that we rub against her little cheek. The kids can't stop talking about the chicks. Damon wants to know if he could bring "his" chick to school, and if not school, could he show it at the fall fair. Then I keep getting questions about how many days until the fall fair. Campbell commented that it must be hard for the chicks to walk on their "backwards knees", but that they probably get used to it. These forums are wonderful! I have already done many searches to get info on how to set up for our birds. This seems like the only place online or in real life where I can unabashedly declare how excited I am about these chicks and the idea of keeping laying hens! I would post more photos but I'm on dial-up, the one downside of rural life.