Hi All, I just wanted to introduce myself as a new member to BYC. My name is Lisa and I live in Lewisburg, TN w/my husband Michael, and 3 string playing children. We live on 115 acres, mixed woods and pasture. We currently have a few La Mancha goats we use for dairy, a very large mini donkey (honestly, people have told us he's a mini, but it's hard to believe), and a flock of 30 chickens and 4 guineas. Our flock is in it's first year, all having come from McMurray hatchery at the end of March 2012 (the guineas were from a local breeder). I have loved birds since I was a child and have raised caged birds for many years, so it was a natural to start with chickens as one of our first ventures. They were healthy birds when they arrived, and raised beautifully. There was one extra small little Silver Spangled Hamburg chick that seemed a little listless and had a hard time with the others running around it, so I separated her out (bringing along two others to keep her company), and gave her some extra special attention in the house for a while before returning her to the main brooder. Today she is as robust as they come. We've lost 1 guinea and 2 chickens to a hawk in the past month. Other than that, we've had no other problems with our birds. Since these were our first chickens, we wanted to sample mutiple breeds. In addition to the Hamburgs, we have Buff Orpingtons, Blue Andalusians, Black Australorps, Cornish, 1 Easter Egger (although I ordered 3, seems like we received a leghorn or two instead), Dominique, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, 1 red sex link, 1 black sex link, 1 Light Brahma, and a few Barred Rocks. We are currently in the stage of deciding which ones we want more of and which others we'd like to try. Egg production is great, and would love to have more color, i.e. Marans and Easter Eggers laying blue or olive eggs. We'd also like to find a nice breed to use for meat production. I came to BYC to see if I could learn of local breeders who have the birds I'm looking for so I would not have to lose time throwing chance to the hatcheries. I've already learned quite a bit in the little reading I've done, so I'm thankful I came. Once we weed through which breeds we'd like to stick with, I will most likely begin to breed them, so am paying close attention to those threads as well. I do work full time in insurance benefits, but the rest of my family is at home full time. Our three musician kids are home schooled by their dad (in everything but music), and they are schooled in music at the Annie Moses Conservatory in Brentwood. When not in school or practicing, they are out with the animals, milking, feeding, cleaning, etc. learning about animal husbandry. One thing we need to add to the curriculum is gardening! I'm currently shopping for more breeds/chicks to add to our flock, so hope to chat with some of you soon. Thanks for having us and providing this great forum as a resource.