Howdy y'all ! I'm 47 years old & have been wanting to keep chickens for YEARS. When I recently went to the store & had to pay $8.38 for just 36 eggs.....well, let's just say that I decided there was no better time than the present! I haven't yet purchased any chickens as I've been researching & reading up on how to properly keep them, as well as deciding where & how I want to house them. I also have a bunch of questions that I haven't yet found answers to & thought this forum would be a great place to start so that I can (hopefully) avoid making mistakes by learning from more knowledgeable folks. In addition to the chickens I'm looking to get, I have 5 dogs (2 Dachshund/Corgi mixes, 1 German Shepherd, 1 English Mastiff & a Saint Bernard), 9 rescued cats and 3 registered Appaloosa riding horses...2 of which I bred, raised & trained myself. I enjoy all of the wonderful outdoor opportunities this area offers...horseback trail riding, hiking, kayaking, etc. I also enjoy reading. I'm an old-fashioned Christian gal who enjoys doing things "the old way", being as self-sufficient & independent as possible, tries to find the joy in the simple things in life instead of the material things & whose personal motto is, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without". I live in a tiny village of less than 250 people in the Ozarks Region of Southcentral Missouri. I own 17 acres of God's beauty situated on a quiet dirt & gravel county road with a spring-fed pond in the pasture next to the house and a wet-weather creek that runs through the other pasture & down behind the house. I have a large garden spot where I grow most of my own vegetables that I, then, freeze or pressure can to be used throughout the winter. Although I still have to use traditional electricity for some things, I've converted my house & barn lighting to solar power and, with the exception of the canning, I do the majority of my cooking with a solar oven. I wash my laundry with an old James-style, hand-agitated washing tub & hang it on the line to dry, courtesy of Mother Nature. I hope to convert more of my household to solar power as funds permit. Thanks for letting me become a member & I'm looking forward to learning from y'all !