Here in Southern New Jersey I have finally realized my dream of having chickens in the backyard. Since my husband's heart attack I've been home quite a lot, so I thought that getting chickens was "now or never." I live in a development on less than 1/4 acre, so I polled the neighbors for permission. All of them were very supportive. I found a local breeder and bought 2 Spangled Hamburgs born April 15th plus a S. Hamburg x Cochin and a Cochin x Barnavelder. Currently, at 7 months old none of them are laying! I feed Flock Raiser and Layena plus a small amount of scratch and sunflower seeds for added calories in the cold. In the evening the girls get a treat of cheese bits. Grit is available and there are 2 sources of fresh water. The run provides grass. The girls have access to the back yard every evening until sunset when they go to bed. We have never used chemicals on the lawn so I have no worries about residual polutants. My coop is small (rated for 5 hens) and my run is large. I have to net the top to protect from the local hawks during the day. At night the girls are safely locked in the coop in a "fortress" with carabineers locking down every possible access to predators. Other than the frustration of not having even one egg so far, I love having the girls. They are entertaining. Each one has a unique personality. All of them are used to being held and petted. Well, the Cochin crosses are more amenable to handling than the S. Hamburgs. Since the coop is small I have insulated it but I don't heat it. The water doesn't freeze over night inside. I look forward to being a part of the backyard chickens community.