Hiya- It's been literally YEARS since I've been around BYC but I found my way back recently and have been perusing the posts. I've seen a lot of new names and quite a few old friends still hanging around so here I am, rejoining the craziness...err...community. My previous flock was quite a varied bunch in terms of breed variety and I spent a lot of time nitpicking it all to death and micro-managing everything having to do with the birds. This time, I've got RIR, Americauna, and Buff Orpington's- and lots of the resulting mixed breed chicks. My birds have a very nice coop that they refuse to use, preferring to free range, roost in the tops of my mesquite trees, and lay eggs wherever they darn well please. Apparently they are more resilient than I previously gave them credit for and don't need me to make everything 'just so' for them. Of course there are the ever-present predator dangers, but I've yet to lose a bird to one (or to ill health) this go-round. At any given time of the day you can find birds weaving in between the horses legs foraging for who-knows-what, or out in the hog pen sharing the days goodies with them, or in and out of the hay bales or rummaging through my garden and lawn or kicked back in my patio chairs on the front porch...All in all, we like this set up way more than our previous one. Now we are all free to relax and go about our days as we please. This makes us AND the birds very happy.