Hello from Northern NM! I am brand new to the world of backyard chickens, though I've been dreaming and reading about chicken-keeping for several years now! But I know that reading about chickens and *actually* raising chickens are two completely different things, so I'm excited to have discovered this great online community and hope to benefit from all your wisdom as I embark on this new journey! I am actually vegan, married to a vegetarian, so I don't really eat eggs -- for me it's an ethical issue, as far as how chickens are treated on factory farms. *However* I'm thrilled at the idea of keeping and nurturing my own chickens as pets, getting to utilize their excellent composting skills, and even enjoying my own home-grown eggs (I have to admit, I'll be excited to eat my first eggs benedict - and homemade, too boot - in a very long time...). A vegan raising chicks and eating their eggs? That makes me odd and perhaps hypocritical in some people's views ... but I promise not to judge anyone who promises not to judge me. ;-) I'm excited to add these fascinating birds to our lives, and I feel good knowing that my own choice will be to keep my hens for life, and all the eggs they produce will go to our egg-eating family members (my husband, our two rescue dogs) and friends and coworkers, which will cut into the number of eggs purchased from enormous egg factories where the hens' wellbeing is completely disregarded. With my humble brooder already prepared, I am looking forward to April 13th when the batch of days-old chicks I'm awaiting arrives at the local feed store. I plan on adopting 4 [presumed] ladies to start of this new branch of our family: a Barred Rock, a Delaware, a Red Sex Link an Easter Egger, and a Black Sex Link. I'll never feel like I know enough about chicken care, so thank you in advance for all your help and guidance and good humor to get me through this!!