I've been lurking in the shadows for a couple of years now and at the encourgement of a new-found friend, I was encouraged to go ahead and join so here I am! I have a backyard flock of eight, soon-to-be, three-year-old, hens: five Buff Orpingtons (Blanche, Sophia, Lucy, Ethel, and Rose), two Ameracaunas (Dorothy, aka "Dot", and Maude), and one barnyard mutt, Sprinkles. I absolutely adore my girls! They have this absolutely amazing ability to make everything right in my world just for being the hilariously comical yet incredibly inquisitive animals that they are. When I am feeling overwhellmed, stressed out, or frustrated, a mere ten minutes of sitting within the flock and all becomes right in my wourld once again, They are truly good for my soul and I can't imagine ever not having a small flock of backyard hens, I've adored chickens ever since I was a small child. I use to spend weeks at a time on my grandparents farm in SW Minnesota and the time always just flew by. I was never bored on "The Farm" as Grandma's very amusing, high-strung and flighty nature just didn't allow that. Grandma was a lot like the dozens and dozens of beautiful chickens of mixed heritage that were always free roaming all over "The Farm". Grandpa was a rather small man with a booming voice who loved to give his grandchildren the roughest whisker rubs after the early morning chores from his yet-to-be-shaved stubble! Despite his rather demure stature, he could be quite intimidating with his voice; however, he was also the most gentle and compassionate farmer ever. He truly loved what he did - from "The Farm" itself and all of it's inhabitants from biddy hens, barn cats and herding hounds, dairy cows and steers, to "Tom T" the most beautiful, lover-of-humans, Tom turkey you could have ever met. During the time that I spent on The Farm, my family lived in rural Iowa... not on a farm, Dad was not a farmer. However, knowing how much I loved chicken and spending weeks being a farmer's kid, like he had been, for my 11th birthday, he gave me four pullet chicks and I was one happy girl. At that very moment, I knew I would have chickens when I grew up. I live in SW Oregon now it was a very long time, THIRTY-THREE YEARS, before I finally was able to have flock of my very own once again. My family and friends are so supportive and patient with my border-line obssessive love for my hens. Thankfully, they're able to find great humor in this as well as know they can ask me darn near anything about chicks, hens, eggs, etc and know I'll steer them in the right direction. Of course, the occasional dozen eggs here and there is a nice incentive to instill tolerance whenever forced to observer my behavior if (when) poultry becomes the topic of conversation! ....the hen convent needs cleaning so I must go. Have a wonderful new year!