Hi All! I've had chickens for about three years... but have really kicked into rabid chicken-ness this spring! I blame it on my Cuckoo Marans hen who went broody... so I just HAD to get her some hatching eggs... And then my Splash Wyandotte went broody, too, so... yep!... I HAD to get her some eggs! And then my son's second grade teacher (a fellow chicken nut) agreed that it would be fun to hatch some eggs in the classroom... so I just HAD to buy an incubator... and send for MORE hatching eggs! LOL Me: I'm a divorced mom with four wonderful kiddos (14y girl, 12y girl, 10y boy and 7y boy) who are alternately amused and embarrassed by my farm girl tendencies. We live in a gorgeous part of Silicon Valley, California - west of San Jose, an hour south of San Francisco and about 20 minutes from Santa Cruz and the ocean. I have a big, pretty veggie garden next to my coops (just expanding those!) and I honestly have napped with my chickens on several occasions. (I'll write about that sometime.) My dogs: I have two German Shepherds. My girl, Darcy, is about 6 and is a gorgeous, papered girl out of German and Chech schutzhund lines. (If you know GSDs, her grandpa is Ursus Von Batu.) She's a bit manic - very much a working girl without enough to do - but such a love. My male shepherd is a rescue that I found on Craig's List. He's a tall, handsome, purebred, oversized male. The gal who was selling him was getting divorced and had all but agreed to sell him to a backyard breeder in Oakland. I told her that I'd top that guy's price and give Lucky a spay and a fabulous home. She agreed and I brought all 100lbs of Lucky home two years ago. He was extremely skittish, shy and unused to physical freedom (running? stairs? grass? wrestling? kids?! He knew none of these - make me really wonder about the quality of life he had.) Now he is bold, confident and relaxed.... except for when my 7 year old son is zipping around - that still unnerves him (so I give him some screen porch time). My cats: When my ex moved out at took his cat allergies with him, I did some foster work for a local cat rescue group. We gave a home to nursing momma cats and their babies who were pulled from local animal shelters... so that the little ones could grow up happy and relaxed, be spayed and adopted. After about a year of that, we hungered for kittens of our own. We found a rescue group that bottle feeds abandoned, feral kittens and got on a waiting list for a few of their babies. We received the perfect kittens! We have Purrl - a fluffy grey and white tabby girl who must be part Ragdoll due to her sweet disposition... and Jacob - a sleek orange and white tabby boy who has the balls of a bull. Nothing fazes him. He got out of the "cat side" of the house and sauntered right up to Lucky (my 100lb GSD), sniffed his nose and walked on by. Yowza! But, because of his bravery, I have successfully integrated the dogs and cats together - something I never thought would happen since none had lived with the opposite animal. My flock: I moved from my last house primarily because I knew a divorce was a matter of time and I couldn't bear the thought of getting that particular house in the divorce settlement. (Too many rough memories for me, although it was a lovely home that I was proud of.) I had several prerequisites for my new house: it had to be in the same school district, it had to have a degree of privacy and it had to be zoned for chickens. We had no sooner moved in than a neighbor asks us if we were interested in some of her chicks from McMurray Hatchery. I really wasn't ready for chickens (I'm a perfectionist and wanted to build the coop first.) and I wasn't sure that I wanted the assortment that she had (brown egg layers - RIR, Red Stars and Black Stars).... but I couldn't resist! We brought home 6 chicks - one for each member of the family. (I delighted in naming my then-husband's chicken "Beulah". hee hee) Fast forward almost three years... I'm divorced now (yee haw!) and our flock has changed. We've lost a few hens to predators and illness... adopted a few from Craig's List... rehomed a number of cockerels and given away a hen or two (always with the blessing of my kiddos). Here's who's in the coop: Lemon Drop - Red Star - One of the original 6 chicks. Rules the roost with an iron beak. Falcon - RIR - Ditto - Named by my son. Agnes - RIR - Ditto - My first hen. Sweet and calm. I take her to school for show and tell. Zebra - Barred Rock - She's Lemon Drop's right hand hen. Eggetha - Ameraucana - My 7y old is so proud that his hen lays green eggs. Tango - Cuckoo Marans - Recently went broody and successfully hatched 5 out of 7 Black Copper Marans eggs. Sooz - Ameraucana - One of my daughter's favorite hens. (This daughter is a farm girl!) Omlette - Lakenvelder - My other daughter's favorite breakfast... LOL Kestrel - Golden Campine - Just as my cat, Jacob, faced down the dogs to create an atmosphere for them to coexist in peace... Kestrel faced down the dogs in the yard this winter while free ranging. Bold as brass, she sashayed right past both dogs and "owned" the yard, not just the garden. The other hens soon followed her. I was amazed that the dogs didnt' munch and crunch them. But then again, I did some serious reinforcement with the dogs and they're not stupid. They know that Momma would whale on them if they even licked a chicken! LOL Iris - Splash Wyandotte - I never paid much attention to her until she went broody. She is now one of my favorite hens. She hatched 6 out of 12 eggs for me - SL Wyandottes and GL Cochins and is a fabulous mom. Cloud - White Rock - Just a sweetie. Blueberry - Blue Andalusian - What else does a 7 year old name a blue hen? Pineapple - Golden Lakenvelder - My second daughter's favorite fruit. (She has food on the brain!) Dove - Welsummer - Lays lovely dark brown eggs. Sonya - Welsummer - Ditto... except that she TOO is broody. I will give her some of the eggs intended for the incubator. Chicks: (I haven't tried to sex these yet and need to do so. If you think that you can help with any of these, PLEASE let me know! Thanks in advance! ~grin~) 3 Golden Laced Cochins - Little cuties - love the feathered feet! 3 Silver Laced Wyandottes - Growing like little weeds! Hope one is a pullet! 5 Black Copper Marans - The are BIG! Once again, I would be thrilled if I got a pullet out of the bunch. I can't keep them all, even though I'd love to. Into the Incubator on Monday (I hope): I'm terrified and brazening it out. This is my first time using an incubator... the first time putting one into the classroom... and I'll have my fingers and toes crossed for the entire three weeks! I have 7 Black copper Marans eggs (Thank you, Bargain!!), 18 Blue Laced Red Wyandotte eggs (Wow! Thank you for all the extras, Marquisella!), 7 Wheaten Marans (from a great gal on Ebay - I would guess that she's here, but I don't know her name), 9 White Ameraucana eggs that my girlfriend is contributing and, I hope to add 6 Frizzle EEs from Frizzled (if we can work it out in time). This will be way too many eggs for the incubator - I forgot about the breeder's generousity in giving extra eggs! - so I will give some to my broody hen, Sonya. I hope to put these eggs in on Monday 4/13 and would guess that their hatch date will be the week of May 4th. I bought a Hovabator (#2362N) with an auto turner (#B6700). PLEASE give me your hints and suggestions! I welcome them here or in a PM. Please help me make this a successful experience for my son's second grade class room! My favorite sections on BYC: The coops! So cool to see what everyone else is doing! The hatching eggs/brooding hens: I really scour this for info. I need to do more before I set this incubator up for the first time. The hatching eggs for sale: I have no business even looking any more, but I can't help it! Chickens are WAY more addictive than shoes! Thanks for reading my long winded "Hello". I'm a stay at home mom, so I'm often around. I'd love to meet other SF Bay locals and hear from other BYC folks. You are all such interesting people and I'm so pleased to have found BYC!