Hi, My name is Red. I'm in Colorado Springs. My boyfriend and I are looking to start a backyard flock this upcoming summer. We've done a lot of research and decided to go with Plymouth Rocks and RI Reds. I'm thinking starting with four chicks total. He's talking about starting with six and adding new chicks in three years, waiting a year, then decreasing by three and starting the cycle again. Meaning once the 2nd batch of chicks reaches one year of age, we butcher some of the older ones, get another set of three chicks and so forth. Colorado Springs allows for a total of 10 hens and no roosters. I very much want to raise them as best as possible since they will serve us eggs and eventually meat. And, I want them to have access to our compost pile and ability to range around the yard. Ideally, our backyard will turn into a homestead with a vegetable garden and chickens. Our backyard is currently covered in red gravel stuff without any grass. Since I do not eat corn, is it possible not to feed the chickens corn and still meet their nutritional requirements? We're designing our own coop based on designs we've seen on here. And we know there ideally needs to be at least 4sq.ft. per adult chicken. We read somewhere that if we go with day-old chicks, we should have a round pen to keep them in? Any suggestions for a round pen? We also have an older dog and year old cat who have never been around chickens. Both the dog and the cat are dominant and have a fairly strong prey drive. How can we ensure our chickens are not tormented by our current pets? I am very excited to be a part of this community. This has been the best resource I have encountered for raising chickens.