I would like very much to have chickens in the spring of '10 and I would like to possibly meet someone in my area and see your set-up, meet your chickens, get advice and find out what kind of a commitment i am really in for. I have wanted to do this for some time and have begun deep research but I would love to talk to a real person and meet some real backyard chickens! SOme questions I have are concerning cost for the coop, the feed, daily upkeep...does anyone have a ball park monthly figure? In the PNW how do you protect your hens from the cold and rain and possible snow? Am I inviting rats and lice onto my property by having chickens? Do they really smell or if i keep up on the cleaning can they be clean animals? all i ever hear from people when i tell them i want to do this is how nasty chickens are and how the eggs have to be cleaned and on and on....can i get some real advice from you guys who actually know?