I'm a mom and wife living on an acre in southeastern Alabama where I am trying my darnedest to be as self sufficient as possible through my gardening efforts. I have a 60'x40' veggie garden and a 20'x20' herb/tea garden, 90' of blackberry hedge, and several strawberry patches, plus a couple scattered rows for tomatoes to keep my crop rotation going. I'm my research toward living independent of grocery stores, I have continually read about keeping duel purpose breed chicken! We eat eggs about as fast as my chicken keeping friend can give them to us and I can never afford to keep my freezer stocked with the free range antibiotic free chicken my husband prefers over any other meat I buy. So I have decided I want chickens =] I have been talking my husband into chickens all through the winter and FINALLY he's on board mostly I think because he realizes I'm not going to stop asking lol We found a friend with a TON of termite damaged wood that we got for free and I have spent the last few weeks researching, designing and building my chicken house and seperate run area. I'm close to finished on the construction front. We just need to cover the run in chicken wire and wall up the coop with the free scrap tin we were given. So far my cost is $0. I'm going to have to buy the chicken wire which costs about $30 per roll. I'll need two so my cost should be right at $60 for a 15sq ft hen house and 55sq ft run! I'm so excited about that!! Since I'm close to having my outdoor setup ready, and since my friend let me tag along to a "lamb day" at a local farm where there were supposed to be chicks for sale, I bought my chick supplies I.e. Chick Feeder, waterer, food, bedding, and a rubbermade tub for them to stay in. Cost = $35. Sadly, the chicks all sold before we arived at the farm, but the chicken man was still there and had lists of the breeds he sold. Over the weekend I have researched and pondered over what breed I would get. I had decided on his black austrolorps at $8/females and $5/males. I figured I could get 4 females and a rooster and they'd fit happily in my coop/run. The chicken man disagreed on my breed choice AND on how many birds my housing could accomidate... He recommended his Bielefelders! He talked passionately about what wonderful duel purpose birds they were!!! When I told him that his price of $15/females and $10/males was out of my budget he said he'd bring the price down to the price of the Black Austros I had intended on getting!! I have read up on these chickens all morning and apparently this is a huge discount from what everyone else is paying! He recommended I get three females and one rooster and said he could have them for me the first week in April. I have so many questions!! I want my hens to be like pets and I plan on hatching out about a dozen at a time to raise for meat. I've had pretty much every kind of livestock you could imagine EXCEPT chickens! I'm so excited and ready to learn! If anyone can give me advice on anything I'm posted here that I need to change or consider I am eager to listen! Thanks in advance y'all!!!