Ok so I've done my reading, books, magazines, online, and I'm thinking that chickens are a pretty good idea. Hubby and I bought our house last June and we have a little over half an acre in a small town where chickens are legal. We've done some research into coops and breeds and we want to build an A frame chicken tractor and we're planning for a mixed flock of about 6-8 hens. So far we like the looks and sounds of Buckeyes and Easter Eggers or Ameraucanas. So far, we've been resisting the temptation to pick up a few chicks at the local Tractor Supply store where we get bird seed for our feeders, but I fear the resistance is running out. So, I have a few questions and am looking for any free advice that anyone would be willing to lend. 1.) My mom swears that chickens stink badly - I've not read anything definitive on this subject, what do you all think? Please be honest. 2.) Is it difficult to go on a vacation and leave your chickens behind in the hands of, say, a mother in law? 3.) What is the average noise level like? While we have a big yard and pretty cool neighbors, I don't want to make anyone insane in my effort to have fresh eggs. 4.) With a flock of say, 6, how many eggs should we expect in a week? 5.) I've read some negative things about chicken poo and gardens/vegetables and some good things. One thing I read seemed to imply that fresh chicken poo is rather harmful to plants/veggies. Is that true? I was hoping to use chicken manure to augment compost for my veggie garden. 6.) Does anyone else use an A frame chicken tractor? What have your experiences been with it? Is an A frame a good design or should we look to something more shed-like? Thanks so much in advance for any advice that you offer, I'm feeling like I need some encouragement at this point.