Howdy, all- I suppose I should give some background before I ask my questions, huh? Like the title says, I'm a desert rat, born and bred, from Phoenix. I've always had at least one animal in the house for as long as I lived (with the exception of when I was seven, unless my siblings count). Currently, we've only got one dog, and she's an old girl anymore, ableit still quite the troublemaker. Well, to make a long story short, since I'm the baby of the family, my parents have decided that there will be no more pets in their house after our dog dies. On a happier note, I've been doing some research and keeping pet chickens sounds great once I move out. But there are a few issues: my main one, would it be too warm where I live for chickens? Even at this time of the year it easily breaks 100 degrees (as it has for the past two days) and gets over 120 occasionally. Are there any breeds of chickens especially heat-hardy, or would I have to install some sort of cooler in the coop? My second pertains to local predators: coyotes have already been covered in a page here, but I've seen nothing about snakes. Are these an issue to poults, hens and roosters? If so, does anyone have any ideas as to how best snake-proof a coop? Lastly (for the time being,) what are your opinions as to the easiest/best breeds to raise for someone brand new, not only to chickens, but to the avian pet world as a whole? Should I start with just one or two? Anything I definitely must look out for? Thanks for your time. I really appreciate it and hope that I'm able to become a regular member here.