Hey all, My name's Nicole, and I'm investigating keeping chickens. I'm hoping to build a coop this fall, then get some chicks in the spring. (I decided too late this year, and the ground freezes something horrible in our area so building a coop in time for the chicks wasn't an option this spring). This may sound horrible, but my only previous experience with chickens were the chickens of hell that lived on farm where I kept my horses. The farm owners had built a decent coop, but never cleaned it, and didn't collect the eggs regularly. Which was unfortunate, except... they also didn't think out their herd. Some how, or for some reason, they'd wound up with this psychotic rooster. The darn thing attacked people. It attacked dogs. It attacked horses. It attacked people walking with or riding horses. It nearly killed me (or rather, it attacked and the horse I was working with spooked and kicked me instead of the darn rooster before taking off). And, on the rare occasion these folks collected eggs, they were all freakishly mutated fertilizations. The darn roo got a butt full of ratshot and kept on going. Even after the rooster finally died, I still hated taking care of these folks' chickens. This was mostly because, on the occasions I farm-sat, they hadn't cleaned the coop in ages and it had to be fully stripped and scrubbed and their dog had to be locked up and would howl and bark and drive me bonkers. These folks probably should not have had chickens. Or horses. Or dogs. Or cats. But they did, and most survived to tell the tale (even with black bears and coyotes sighted regularly), so I'm hopefully not overconfident in thinking I can handle a few chickens. In any case, we've got our horses in our backyard now, and it seems like adding chickens to the pile of animals who get my care (three horses, two dogs, and two cats) won't be too much more work, once we get set up. We've already got a composting system going that the chicken poop can integrate into, and I already spend half my money at Agway, so here's to hoping. I'm also largely convinced that animals behave better with better care, so I'm hoping for no more demon roosters. (Or rather, I'm more than happy to eat demon roosters for dinner). Thanks to all the wonderful folks with information and plans on this site- they're really helping me figure out what I'd like to do for this.