Hi all, I've owned backyard hens for almost ten years and teach a "Backyard Chicken" class at an educational farm nearby. I've been sharing this website with prospective chicken owners for the six years I've taught this class, and yet I wasn't a member myself...quite ironic. Particularly because I tell the class participants how helpful and friendly this site is. So here I am, finally! I have owned Ameraucanas, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Wyandotts, Buckeyes, and now have a flock of 5 Buff Orpington's, and I have loved all of these breeds...overall great layers, friendly and great for backyard flocks. I have a mutually helpful relationship with several people from the Bhutanese community nearby, who came as refugees several years ago...they take my 2 year old hens every other year when they slow down their laying, and I get new chicks to raise. We also own a cat, Chester, who isn't interested in these chickens because they just get too big to bother with, and our rescue mastiff Honey, who has killed 7 groundhogs, 1 raccoon and (unfortunately) 2 skunks, but would never lay a paw on the chickens because we've trained her to know that they are part of her pack. In fact, she recently body-slammed a neighbor's Newfoundland who escaped his yard to get at our hens. She's a good dog. Thanks for all the help you give to chicken owners...I'm glad I've finally joined up!