Folks, I'm a newbee and still roaming and discovering the goodies on the BYC site. I've done a few postings already but wanted to do an intro so you'll have some idea about this old lady and her birds. I have a backyard flock of hens and one goose. They were installed in the backyard to help me get the yard back in shape again. In short, the birds and I are making compost and the family is gifted with daily eggs. This is a wonderful forum and I'm so glad to see such strong participation. I've seen concerns posted that were concerns I had with my birds. And I've learned a lot about goat's milk soap making! We lost the top soil in the yard, a thick carpet of tangled vines took over the entire yard, and every caliber and type of insect, flea and tick, called it home. You could not even sit on the patio because the bugs were horrific. After I found ticks, I got the hens. There is 4 to 6 inches of compost covering the backyard now. Those darling hens ate all those vines, ticks, fleas, and other bugs. They even cleared off the strange bug critters on my avacado trees. Every day more leaves are hauled in after yesterday's leaves are raked out and put in a "used" pile -- where the hens go after it as if it were Christmas time for hens. I use leaves for litter and leaves for the nesting boxes. The hens have done such a good job back there, I can't help but spoil them. The goose is a darling who is now behaving like the alarm system. We enjoy the backyard again -- no bugs, no fleas, no ticks, no vines -- and surprisingly, no bad smells from the hens and goose. And those eggs I get every day are absolutely the best ever.