Hi everyone. I was so excited to find this place and actually see all the kind and helpful remarks from chicken raisers. I am 61 years old, always a city dweller until recently. 2 years ago I bought 4 acres( of predominately rocks) and now live in the middle of no where. I really want to raise some chickens for eggs but every time I read about how to start I see lots of talk about disease and chickens pecking each other to death etc. Also I'm in the high desert, hot in summer, cold in winter. I only want to keep chickens for eggs for myself and a few lucky friends. Is it really as hard as it sounds? Will they be happy if they don't get full access to the property? (I have hawks that check out my dog for dinner). Does it really cost a fortune to begin? Can things be set up so they survive for a week if Im gone? I have so many questions!