We're rolling around to that time of year where most of us are thinking of adding to our flocks, and I am no exception. I have searched this thread and haven't come up with anything to clear on what I want to do and really need some advice. We built our coop and run for 8 chickens. We purchased 10 expecting at least 2 of the chicks to die. All 10 lived to adulthood and laid good eggs. We eventually lost one for some unknown reason in the early fall. The rest of the flock of 9 ladies have been perfectly healthy the entire time since and I have been getting about 4-6 eggs a day every day...except when it snows LOL (I only get two then. The snow really seems to put them off). Coming to the point.. I want a rooster and a few silkies. I am currently contemplating which breed of rooster, but have settled on two contenders - Easter Egger or Buff Orpington roos. I have no worries on adding the rooster to my current set up. We let the chickens free range quite a little bit and we have also already had 10 full grown chickens in the coop and it was just fine. What is your advice here? Is there another breed of rooster you recommend? Keep in mind, if he is to aggressive, I will eat him. I have two children, one of which is only 5 and loves picking up the chickens and chasing the chickens, and in general, being 5 years old. It must be a docile breed. My concern is also for the silkies. I don't want them to be hen pecked to death - due to space issues/stress, and I'm afraid this would be a real possibility? Do you feel this is a valid concern? and what advice can you give on integrating/housing them with the rest of the flock. Should I set up a mini coop of sorts and simply expand the run to accomodate them all - having the mini coop open into a communal run? I would really like them to be in with the rest of the flock if at all possible. Would the rooster have a problem with this - all of his ladies not living in the same abode? The point of the new additions is of course, to raise chickens...to eat. I am most comfortable with this method in providing our family with a fresh, healthy, humanly treated meat. The rooster to do "his duty" and the silkies to hatch the eggs and raise the chicks. Also, these chicks will replace any egg layers that die. My current 9 ladies (several different breeds) are pets, and are named, but I am aware that chickens die, and I don't see the need to buy a new hen when I can just move one of the chicks hatched by the silkies up into an egg layer position so to speak, should that happen. I am uncertain of the number of silkies I should acquire for this venture as well. I know at least 4. I will raise 2 of them to go to a family member, so they will only be temporary residence. For this first year, I am not particularly concerned with high production, I just want to get the feel for everything and go from there, but would also like to maximize any output (meaning how many eggs can a silky brood at once and how long until I can give her another clutch?) I'm just feeling around and am uncertain how to go about doing this. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.