So I finally joined instead of just reading. I've been on the board since long before actually having chickens. Now that I am no longer in the city (yes, chickens were permitted, but three?), I have gradually expanded from caring for an existing flock to raising chicks last year. I have claimed not to be a "bird person" but the chicks were really engaging and followed me around the yard, especially when I wore my "hippy skirt" - midi length with a rufflled bottom - so much like a mother hen's flounce. When tragedy struck in June in the form of a hungry coyote, probably with pups to feed, my lovely Silver-Laced Wyandottes were decimated. All five of them, leaving us only with senior hens. I had made the mistake of trusting a setup that had worked pretty well for seven years without maintenance. The chickens had worked along the back of the apple orchard enclosure until the wire was loose enough to be pushed up. So to recover from this tragedy and my failure as a flock minder, I spent huge amount of times on BackYard Chickens and commercial sites. In the end, I got three young Cream legbar pullets from a local breeder (autosexing - so helpful because roosters are not really appreciated around here in the semirural belt, although there is no zoning ordinance against them - plus, blue eggs). They are named Punnett, Pease and Elliot. Then a free Phoenix hen on Craigslist turned into four free hens - mostly because I said my plan was to paint them - so I wasn't so concerned that they weren't the "super producer" breeds and were already two years old - a lovely Sicilian Buttercup, a spangled Hamburg (who looks more splash than spangled), the Phoenix and an Auracana hen. I got them less than a week ago and they have already laid a dozen eggs, so not slackers by any means. They were a backyard city flock, so it could be that they are just thrilled to have more room - they are isolated from the others at the moment in what was the pea patch, while the others are in another run down by the barn. They seem healthy, but I am not going to rush the flock blending until they are all free ranging together without issue. I wasn't anxious to introduce adult chickens, but these ladies are so easy to handle because they were pets (though they do fly) that I couldn't resist their good looks. So, more chickens, or not? The old ladies - two lavender Orpingtons (Iris and Violet) and a Rhode Island Red (Elinor), are making a contribution too - so we are okay on eggs. The friends who were receiving the summer overflow are hinting that I need more... And I plan to continue the painting series, so I am still mulling all the possible ways to expand my "pallette" of chickens! It's fair season, and I am entering some paintings at the local fairs, so maybe I will just prowl the exhibits. I have sworn (because, roosters) I am not going down the breeding path. But not with my hand on anything. So - predictions - how many chickens will I have in a year?