Hi there! I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Kristi and I live in Nebraska. I have actually been a member for years- been dreaming of having chickens for a very long time and now it is finally happening. My SIL & BIL have quite the extensive flock after taking their son's school chicks that were hatched in class and then hatching a few of their own in an incubator. I love gardening and this year the grasshoppers have been plague like at my place- we live on 7 acres just outside a small town. I have tried everything I could read about- even out their with my shop vac trying to vacuum up the stupid things. So my BIL suggested I borrow some chickens to help control the grasshopper population. I was apprehensive at first, but finally decided to give it a try. Now we have a 12 X 20 shed that we have planned on converting the back portion into a chicken coop. I have done my research in the past and I know what I'd like to do to make it a safe coop for our chickens and that is going to take some money to get it set up right- especially a covered run. So we hadn't done anything yet. However, I did get 5 chickens last week from my BIL- 3 roosters and 2 hens- buff orphingtons and rhode island reds. initially we were just going to borrow them, but I can tell already that I am not going to want to give them back! So for now at night they are in a black dog crate with a wooden post for a roost that fits through the bars. So we corral them into the crate at night- which is still pretty amusing to watch- and then lock them into the shed at night. In the morning we go out and carry the crate into the fenced garden and let them free range within that space for the day. Obviously what we are doing now isn't going to be a good long term situation and so we are looking at our options with our limited budget and something that can work with our long term coop plans. We are thinking about doing a smaller area within the coop area of our shed that can later be a quarantine/broody box and then extending our garden fence so we can just go in and open doors to let them out to free range. They have been so fun to watch as they catch the grasshoppers. They've done a pretty good job cutting the garden population in just a few short days. However, they also discovered my tomatoes and they eat more tomatoes than the grasshoppers do- so we bought some fencing last night- hopefully we can keep them out of there. Can't wait to learn more from all the experienced people here at BYC! Coop will be back portion of shed behind the door and run will be built onto the backside of it.