Hey BYCers! I have been using this site for a few months now and finally decided to just jump in and get an account. My decision to get involved with chickens was rather sudden. We never had chickens when I was a child, but a lot of my extended family has chickens. We're sort of a back-to-earth, all-natural, self-sufficient (or trying to be) kind of group. So naturally the idea of chickens appealed to me right away. But our getting chickens actually started with goats. Well, before that even, it started with a puppy. When our cat died, we thought we were doing the right thing by getting a puppy for our three children (now ages 1, 3, and almost 5), but quickly discovered that puppies are a lot more work than I was willing to put in. Within a couple of months, we sold him to a family who knew what they were doing and would give him an awesome life with their three older boys. Of course at that point we couldn't just come out pet-less. Our daughters were heart-broken and I knew they and our baby boy would benefit in so many way from growing up with animals. Plus, we thought it would be such a waste not to take advantage of our nearly 1/2-acre backyard. It was around that time that we discovered one of our neighbors down the street had goats: 4 mama goats, 2 kids, and 2 on the way. Talking to her a little more, we became convinced that goats were the animal for us. They are sweet and loving for the most part, will eat kitchen scraps, give milk, and act as natural lawn-mowers. What more could we want? One of the kids she had was white and one was black, and we thought it would be great to name them Yin and Yang. They would be ready to leave their mothers in a month. I even had experience milking goats (well, once, when I was a teenager). Unfortunately, she decided to sell them to a long-time friend at the last minute instead. Apparently we need better connections. So there we were yet again, pet-less, and even though it was still springtime we felt like time was running out. We didn't want our pet to still be a baby in the wintertime, when we would have to worry about it freezing to death outside. And there was no way I was having an indoor pet, unless it was a cat. We even looked for one of those, but couldn't find a single promising ad on Craigslist or KSL. Besides, by this time I was very attached to the idea of having a useful pet. I wanted the farm life, or at least as much of it as I could get in the middle of town. I don't know when the idea of chickens occurred to me, but as soon as it did I began researching them like a madwoman. I spent hours at a time looking up different breeds, comparing prices, learning about how to take care of them and making lists of everything I would need. When I was fully convinced that this was the pet I wanted (for sure this time), I told my husband what I was planning. We had an old shed out back that we could easily convert into a chicken coop, and we had a bunch of wire fencing left from our make-shift dog-run that we could use to make a little chicken yard. It was settled. We were going to get some chickens that were old enough to be put in the coop, but young enough to still be little and cute, and hopefully become friendly toward us with some socialization. Around that time I saw the ad I had been waiting for. Some nice lady had bought a bunch of day-old chicks (like 100), all different varieties, which were now several weeks old. She was selling them for $5 apiece because she had to move suddenly and wouldn't be able to take them with her. I had already made a short list of the breeds I was willing to get, the only thing I was still having trouble with was how many of each breed I wanted. Thankfully, that problem was solved for me because the lady had a total of ten 5-week-old hens that were on my list. So I just took them all. I ended up with three Red Stars, two Black Stars, three Ameraucanas, one Buff Ameraucana, one Buff Orpington and a Golden Campine rooster she threw in for free. On our way home we stopped by the local IFA for some pine shavings, chick feed, and a large feeder and waterer. We set it all up in the shed when we got home, along with the large dog kennel we brought them home in (because they seemed to like to huddle together in there). We ended up getting rid of the rooster when he started crowing, but he wasn't that great of a breed anyway and I wouldn't have wanted him making any baby chicks with my top-of-the-line hens. Taking care of them was easier than I could have ever imagined, and my girls absolutely loved "their" little babies. Just a few weeks ago my husband and I went outside and put together some nesting boxes from a bunch of old wooden fencing that was just sitting in the backyard, and bought some straw to go in them. The hens took to them like they'd always been there, and we even started getting eggs from one of the Black Stars. The other Black Star never came back in one day and that was the last we ever saw of her . Then last week we started getting eggs from two of the Red Stars (yay!). Unfortunately, now our lease is up and we have to move because the owners are planning to sell (we were thinking this was going to be our home for the next 5+ years, guess not). Because it's very difficult to find a rental that will let us have chickens, we decided to sell them and get a place with a 6-month lease so that we can find a more permanent home in the spring and try again. Trust me, my daughters were devastated when a nice couple came and took our chickens away, and I'm pretty sad about it too. I actually grew to love them. I even named some of them. They were my pets. But now I'm looking forward to next year, and I feel fortunate that I've had this experience. I promised my girls that the chickens were going to a wonderful home for the cold winter, and next spring we're going to get some cute baby chicks. They can't wait, and neither can I!