On Mother's Day 2013, I treated myself to three pullets and finally threw away the Organic Gardening magazine from the 80's with the article about the Benefits of Backyard Chickens. As a child, my sister and I always got those colored chicks for the holiday, loved on them until they went to live with my aunt and returned later in the year as dinner. But we never really got to raise them. I always loved to listen to chickens and my children would always know that when possible I would be somewhere getting my 'hen zen'. My husband was very reluctant about having hens and we live in an urban area but for the past several years my family has been giving me chicken related gifts so the decision was inevitable. My little trio consists of Cosette, a Barred Rock; Samantha, a Cochin; and Dali, an Americana.When planning my first group, I had wanted a Buff Orpington, Americana & and Polish but then heard of a group of lovingly raised pullets and opted for these pleasant birds instead. It has been a good choice. I will add some Polish to the group in a year or two. I built the pen myself behind my studio to keep it private and not invasive in the landscape. The angles are a bit askew as my construction skills are limited, but it is sturdy and specifically designed for our long hot seasons. The pen is fenced and further reinforced with 8-foot cuts of bamboo, to keep out the neighborhood coyotes and bobcat. It is guarded by a large Mexican Rooster. BackYardChickens.com was one of my resources for designing the pen. My morning starts with giving my hens some special treats, then off to work in the studio. I make 1:12 scale dollhouse miniatures around Texas themes in my business, Texas Tiny, which started as a hobby late in life, when my son, Jon entered high school. My husband came around to the idea of chickens when they started becoming productive members of the family and often chides me to go out and squeeze out an egg that he might need for a recipe. The main problems with me getting my 'hen zen' now is that they are neighborhood favorites and people stop by to watch them frequently. The chickens have been remarkable healthy. Cosette was carried over the 8 foot fence this summer by a Red Tailed Hawk while she was defending Samantha, but managed to fight back and lived through it. Samantha seemed to be more traumatized by the event and stopped laying. I stretched wire across the top between my studio and the fence to block the hawk and it seems to have worked so far. My game camera came next, so that I can keep an eye on my babies, and Cosette loves to take selfies. Usually, slightly more than half of our photos are Cosette. I might have just joined this site so that I can post the selfies without being so very self-conscious of my chicky love.