Hello all - it took 17 years of marriage and a mention on Oprah about the unhealthy aspects of combine eggs for my wife to agree for me to finally get some laying hens. I had been raised with animals and really wanted chickens. We have plenty of land and I built a large pen/coop (with the run of the yard during the day) and we started with 3 laying hens last year. A few months ago they were all wiped out by critters in the night. My kids were devastated as they had become pets, so over the holidays I bought 4 maran chicks. I was told they were black. Some day I'll figure out which are hens or roosters. It has been pretty cold this winter in Florida, so they have been in the garage in a pen with a warming light. It has warmed up and they are getting bigger. The pen has been fitted with more security and we should be better off this go around. Looking forward to the eggs and teaching the kids about raising chicks from an egg this time.