I have been mining this website for lots of great info, so I thought I should officially join and perhaps be able to eventually return the favor. Many years ago, my brother suggested that banties would be a good way to control the tick population. (That year, we had pulled 7 ticks off the kids and dogs in the first two weeks of June.) We got some silkies and were thrilled with the result. Since then, we have had some beautiful partridge cochins, and other assorted bantams. I finally decided that the bantams were too independent and have switched to standard chickens. A friend obtained some Rhode Island reds, barred rocks and buff orpingtons for me. After paying $20 for an organic roaster, I decided to begin raising my own and I have an incubator full of speckled sussex as a starter flock. But that thing about getting addicted is tough to fend off. I am now excited about getting some black copper marans or golden cuckoo marans..... I just have to figure out how to free range without the breeds becoming crossed.