Hey all! My name is Meg & I'm married to Jeff. We've been tossing around the idea to become backyard chicken owners for about three years now. After reading the conditions found by investigators in the recent massive egg recall, I put my foot down and refused to eat anymore eggs until we had our own. Well, I know that isn't a likely thing, but at least I got the rest of the family on board by making them read the article! I grew up in what my friends called a "zoo"... we always had a few birds, a few dogs, and a few fish... along with a reptile or rodent. I *never ever* want to have a ton of pets ever again, but I'm fine with our beta fish, jack russel mix, and a few chickens! In the last year -- my mother in law & I have book marked a lot of instructables and BYC plans for coops & runs. After spending the last week or so lurking on BYC & looking at plans all over the place -- I've sketched my own plans with input from the family. Last night I was up late into the morning, texting my husband at work, about my design & searching for breeds that would be suitable for us! Today we price checked our building materials & found our feed and DE supplier -- and what do you know! They had australorp chicks! The breed we had decided on! The coop is going to be 4'h x 3' w x 4' l... 3.5' sf ventilation, + two nest boxes + perch, with a 30 sf run area (mostly shaded by trees & a cover)... and we're planning on getting movable fencing to allow them to go to different areas of the yard. Everything is big enough for four chickens, but I'm putting my foot down at two -- for now. The husband seems to think he's Gaston from Beauty & The Beast and needs to eat ten egg omelets every day. Soo -- totaling our costs for building has come to $85 -- but I'm giving us room at $100. All the materials are untreated wood, still cheaper materials -- but we're planning on upgrading in a year once my business has grown (only two months old, getting plenty of work, but I need to be sure income will be steady.) Definitely going to white wash with DE, and paint the exterior with laytex paint I got for free (Hey It's Free! is a great blog!!!!) Chicks will be $4/each, with a good sized bag of starter at $6. I didn't price the DE, but that's an investment I'm totally not cutting corners on! Plan is to start building in a week or two -- I work a part time job as a home appraiser's assistant, and we've been busy with a TON of refi's. It usually cycles every two weeks, so once I'm not busy we'll start! I look forward to becoming active in your community!!!