I had been considering getting chickens for a couple of years, but never had the courage to bring home even more animals. I did not want chickens who were wild, nor did I want them for meat. I simply wanted tame, egg laying, entertaining friends to have running around my backyard for me to watch and get breakfast from. My neighbor's all had chickens, and their's were entertaining, as well as helpful, so why not have my own? I went to TSC in town and bought some of their regular pullets and a beginners box, along with a book and magazine on chickens. My sister came along and so my chicks first treat was bits of her chicken sandwich, which she found hilarious. Oh well. I brought them home and kept them in an old water trough in the unused bathtub with a little waterer and feeder, under a heat lamp and tons of shavings. Now, and this is important to my chicken story, you should know that one of my dogs is a very loopy hound dog named Maida. My neighbor saw her get thrown out of the back of a truck and, even with her broken front paws from the impact, it still took me an hour to catch her. She was nearly a skeleton and terrified of everything. If I moved or any sound was made, she ran on her belly peeing everywhere. She never played or made eye contact. Just constantly paced (even slept standing!) and bolted, and it had been a year since I got her when I got my chicks. She had made little improvement, but cautiously came into the bathroom when she heard the peeping from the tub. When I returned with fresh water, I found her laying in the tub with her head resting in the trough allowing the chicks to peck her nose while she closed her eyes. Here are the chicks I had at the time: And here is Maida, their surprisingly dedicated friend: Finally, it came time to put the chicks outside. I put them in a chicken tractor made from chicken wire, wood, and an old dog house, like I had seen in a magazine. The chicks were molting by this time and they allowed me to hold them and came to the tractor door when I walked up. Maida spent most of her time laying beside them looking content, and it was like that for a few days. Now, a hound dog howls a lot at night. Especially here in the woods. So I did not get up to check in the night when I heard Maida howling for hours. I figured she was hollaring about noises or just instinct. When I went out in the morning to feed my chicks, she ran up to me and ran back to the tractor whining, and I noticed she had some scrapes. I walked up and found three holes in the wire and a hole beneath it, but no chicks. I'll never know what took my chicks, only that it got in the yard over the big fence and was heavy enough to put a huge dent in the wire top of the tractor. I think there were more than one, because of the scratches on my dog and yet the chicks were still gone. I let Maida out into the woods and she returned with each chick, one by one, laying them on the porch gently. They were all there except for their heads. And my poor hound bayed for two nights, staring at the tractor during the day blankly. We were both heartbroken. My husband also felt for us and bought four chicks from the hardware store, picking three cute ones and one runt who had not opened it's eyes and simply let the others run it over and over, feeling sorry for it. I quickly rebuilt the tractor with hardware cloth instead, and a chickenwire bottom with a spotlight on it, while my dog once again spent time in the bathroom, licking the chicks and wagging her tail. Here are the four little ones: My neighbor also donated two roosters to me, explaining that they were so protective of her hens, she could not get anything done with them. They were originally three roosters, but with the two left, who I must admit work amazingly together to keep my hens fed and together, I felt better about leaving the new critters outside. Here they are crowing outside of the door: Finally, my four chicks grew up, and three were hens and one was a rooster. An aggressive rooster. Which I don't mind, he takes on anything that bothers his ladies and stays out of the way of the two older roosters. And while one of my hens, Doodle, who was my favorite, passed away this week, I had included her picture when she was in my arms... (Doodle, R.I.P.) (Fred and George) (Oodle and Wicked, with the white rooster challenging my pit in the background) (The white rooster glaring at me and Oodle in the back) (white rooster) (Wicked, with Maida watching in the background) Now, for the last leg of this story at this time, the death of my hen and nearly the white rooster (he has no name, but I would like for him to have one...help?): The dogs were let out into the yard in the morning as usual, and my hen had managed to squeeze out through the wire top of the run. She was caught by my pit before I could get out the door, but the white rooster squeezed out after her and attacked the dogs, even those not attacking his hen. All of them backed off except for the attacking one, who I do not blame as she was only chasing the animals that were not supposed to be in her yard and were running around, and when she grabbed him instead of Doodle, Maida charged in having gotten out of her collar and laid over the top of the rooster until I dragged my other dogs into the house. My rooster lost some feathers only, thanks to Maida, and I had Doodle put down when she could not be saved at the vet's, and she is buried behind the house. The rooster is still not afraid of the dogs, and he challenges the dogs through the fence of the run and crows in their faces. None of the dogs, not even my pit, has been able to look at him ever since, simply averting their eyes and walking past the fence. Except for Maida, whom he simply walks by or drinks out of her water bucket with her. He is very brave and I am glad that he grew up to be the way he is; he has done wonderfully, especially since he was the runt who had his eyes closed and head down in the corner when we got him. I hope to add another pair of hens to my small flock shortly to increase my egg collection and further appease my roosters! I have since, with the great help of my husband, updated the run for safety and we are currently working on updating it for the winter. Notice Maida staying between me and the run...it's been about two years now since I got her, and she still avoids humans and paces a lot, but she is always beside the chickens.