I have always loved animals and can remember keeping chickens as a child. Chickens were one of the most fun animals that my great grandparents kept and they are part of my fondest memories with them. I knew I wanted to have those same memories with my children, but six years away while DH was serving in the armed forces kept us from doing any serious hobby farming. We came back to the family farm last year, and so chickens were my first choice for our famiy project. We tried hatching some eggs from a barnyard mix, but only three hatched and all died within a day of hatching and were sick from the beginning. We tried again a second time with a foam bator instead of a homemade one. This time things went well until I had to visit my gran who was sick and had a fatal spike. We would have had a 50% hatch rate from the eggtopsy that I did. We were devastated. After the second failed attempt I decided to look up a couple of local BYCers and get some adult chickens. We ended up with: two bantam cochin hens and a roo and four silkies (three hens and a roo) The silkies laid five eggs pretty quickly so I opened one to check to see if it was fertile and it was clearly fertile. I incubated those eggs: Of the four we incubated three hatched... They are doing well at ten days old: We used the feather sexing method that the hatcheries commonly use and according to that method they are all pullets. We could not be more happy with our chickens. We are building them a new run next week. It's been a long road to this point, but something about the tiny fuzzy butts just makes you forget all the hard and horrible things that you went through to get to this point. I can't wait to see what happens with them when spring finally gets here.