NEW PERSON: I've had chickens, off and on, since 1979. Everything I know about chickens have been by trial and error. The house I'm living at now is in a neighborhood of acreages, and was in the outskirts of town (rural) until a few years ago and now I have housing additions close to me. A few years ago I thought it would be good for my young grandchildren to be involved with chickens; they hadn't before. So I hastily built a chicken pen of chicken wire and ordered Java chickens from Garfield farm museum. I heard they were almost extinct and they were very docile good for meat and eggs. I could kill two birds with one stone you might say. When they came in they were little chicks, about 24 of them, and was a sensation with my grandchildren. I had them for three years and that was two years ago. We have been in a drought for several years and critters like yotes, skunks, foxes, have moved in close to the housing additions and my neighborhood as well looking for food. My pen being made of chicken wire was no match for the yotes, and foxes. I lost my entire flock in two nights. If I hadn't seen a couple completely eaten carcases I would have thought someone stole them. I found one dead about a 1/4 mile down the road in a bar ditch. I figured there was a den of pups close by. I felt really bad about that. I wasn't a very good care taker. They depended on me and I failed them. I started to miss my chickens so I started preparing a new pen, early this year, only this time I trenched two feet below ground and put a 2 foot piece of cattle panel in it. I built a 6 foot high chain link fence and using hog nose rings attached it to the chain link fence. The post are heavy gauge steel pipe, same for around the top and gate. I cemented under the gate so nothing could dig under. I have a large tree in the pen and have never lost one to a hawk. My chicken house is corrugated metal. I heat it with heat lamp over their roost. This spring I will insulate it and may not need the lamp next winter. I only use the lamp when temperature gets into the low teens now. I couldn't locate Java's close in but I did buy 21 straight run Road Island Red chicks which I ended up with 7 hens; I kept one rooster the other thirteen roosters my kids helped me butcher and we split them up amongst us. I want to get about 20 more chickens so I can have eggs for the whole family (12) of us. My hobby is gardening and my family (3 children, 4 grandchildren) help plant and pick so we all put the produce up which helps with the grocery bill. I'm retired from a company of 45 years, and have been married for 49 years. That's quite a book I wrote here but it tells a little about me. Thanks for letting me part of Back Yard Chickens.