Hello there, well I am not new to chickens but pretty new to this group. Not completely new because I have been browsing it all spring and summer long reading, learning and getting some great coop/run ideas. It all started for me back in 2004 when my daughter's class hatch chicken eggs and she asked if she could bring a couple of the chicks home at the end of the year when the teacher was going to have to give them to a farm... Well, we ended up taking all 12 of them... As with all critters, 12 became 33 before we knew it... Had a terrific morning about two and a half years into our lil chicken farm when we awoke to having all the kids destroyed by what we think was a pack of coyotes. The pen /coop that they lived in was destroyed and so where the birds. We waited about 2 years to try our luck with chickens again... We built a new coop/run and haven't had any trouble with the coyotes since that terrible nite back in 2007... This past year we once again revamped our critter haven , with the help of this website, because our group of animals has grown quite a bit over the 9 years. We currently have 8 girls, boys are no longer allowed where I live . Not exactly sure of the breeds I have because my daughter once again brought me home babies... But from looking at pictures I believe I have: Lohmann Brown= Red Silver lace Wyandotte = Lacy and Silvia Golden Lace Wyandotte = Goldie Mille Fleur Bantum = Boots Rhode Island Red = Baby R Speckled Sussex = Fish Food (yes I named her after my favorite ice cream!!!) Austrolop (I think) = Ebony While I was making my designs for my construction site / new critter sanctuary and trying to identify the new chicks that my kid brought home I did a google search and this website was advertised with answers, pictures and ideas on just about every page I visited... My hobbies... Well, I love my time in the yard. Whether I am hanging out with the critters, cutting my grass, planting the garden, spending weeks on end trying to find the leak in my fish pond or planning and redoing my yard only to sit back once I am done and realize omg I should do that so I replan, redo and rethink. Just doing that over and over again every year because there is always new ideas popping up to make the sanctuary more functional for all the critters is by far my biggest hobby but I also love to read, making Jelly in the fall, help my hubby make syrup from our tapped Maple trees in the winter and spending time with my practically grown children. Speaking of my children and family. I am married with children, well not children more like young adults... My son, Jon, is almost 21. We, as a family, have been helping him follow his dream of becoming a professional motocross dirt bike racer. He started riding when he was 4 and once he got on the track he was hooked and so were we... For the last 17 years we have packed up ourselves and the many orphaned animals that we raised each summer into our 1983 motorhome and traveled our surrounding states racing races and having great family time. He is currently considered a Semi-Pro racer and an amateur freestyle motocross performer. My daughter, Kasidy, is 18. She graduated high school this past may and has started working at a doggie day care center saving up money so that she can enter a Veterinarian Technician Program in the spring. Kasidy has been my biggest supporter and helper in my quest to save every critter that comes to our front door. She is a very well rounded young woman... One minute she will be dressed like she is entering a beauty pageant and the next she will be in her riding gear kicking up the dirt on her bike, she climbs trees, has mud fights with her best buddies, rides a skateboard in her homecoming dress and has the beauty outside to match her well rounded beautiful personality inside. I have been with my husband since 1990 and without his support and love I wouldn't have been able to be a stay at home mom for my children nor would I have been able to save, raise and release the hundreds of animals I have had the great pleasure of helping all these years. Onto what is now allowing us to live with them, we have: Dogs= Labrador Retriever: Raven, 11yrs old Morkie: Tootsie, 9yrs old Pit Bull Mix: Mijiha, 7yrs old (one of a litter of 10 pups we rescued from a garage, which was reported as a group of pit fighers) Cat= Lucky, 3yrs old (she was found at about 1 day old in the middle of a very busy road here in town and a concerned citizen knew about me and so that is how I got one of my loves of my life) Pigs= Both rescues from a local shelter before they got euthanized Pot bellies : Wilbur, 7yrs and Charlotte, 6 yrs Birds: The Hens that I already mentioned above... The ducks: new this spring(thanks to my son and his gf) Muscovy: Teddy Indian Runners: Daisy, Donald and Duey (rip 9/9/2013 Huey) Rouen: Heidi Cayuga: Daffy Misc. girls that just wont leave and I really am glad they love our place... Gus (has abscessed feet and can't fly very well) and Goose (who was rescued by a concerned citizen after been attacked by a group of boys throwing rocks at her head and in the process she lost an eye and pretty much fly's in circles because of her depth perception)... We have 2 three legged raccoons Gizmo and Shady that call the sanctuary home along with a blind and deaf opossum named Sammy. Running loose in the yard on a nightly basis after all the vulnerable critters are put to bed for the day are about 7 other coons that come in to eat what everyone else has left behind... Wow, I sure had a lot more to say that I thought when I started this thread... Hope you enjoyed the story of my life and I didn't bore the tears outta ya!!! Have a great day!!! "God's critters are his gifts to us... the non worthy of the unconditional love that we are so freely given"