Hi everyone! It was one of my new year's resolutions to stop creeping this site and actually participate, so here I am! Last summer, I managed to convince my husband that having a small backyard flock was an amazing idea and now we have a coop half built. The idea is to buy day olds in April and see where things take us! I'm investing my dreary winter days in doing lots and lots of research so I don't make too many mistakes right off the bat (which, really, is inevitable!) We're planning for a small flock, just four hens, and I was thinking we would get all barred plymouth rocks based on some appealing facts from my research: 1. they're cold hardy. I live in southwestern Ontario so winters are definitely chilly- especially last year 2. they're good layers - I haven't decided whether we'll be raising them for eggs/pets or for eggs/pets/food...can't quite wrap my head around that concept yet 3. they're pretty docile - we have a 5 year old daughter and a 2.5 year old son, and I don't want to traumatize them with chicken attacks (I had a run in with a Canada Goose when I was 3 that haunts me to this day) 4. I'll admit it: I like the way they look but then...a bit more digging and I see the words "end of lay"....so what exactly does that mean? Are they going to dry up in the egg department? And if so, when? If I got a mix of Red Sex Links and Barred Plymouth Rocks what would happen? Would they be mean to each other? You can see, despite my extensive research, I know so very, very little! Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated! I'm looking forward to getting to know you all!