Hi all! I've been poking around BYC for the last couple of months gathering some of the immense knowledge all you pros have to offer!! I am new to chickens, though last year we had three ducks. Being new at duck rearing and uneducated to say the least(my thinking was, "how hard is it to raise a few birds?") we ended up loosing them to either a pesky owl or a lazy raccoon. Whoever did it left much evidence...leaving Mom and Dad to clean up a homicide scene before the kids went out to visit their duckies! Anyways, I am determined to NOT be such a goon this time around and gather as much possible information on chicken raising as I possibly can! I've read tons of books and researched for hours on the internet! I have found that BYC is where I keep going to get my cyber-info so I decided it was time to become a member! Our 26 chicks are due to hatch at the hatchery the week of June 6. We are getting a mix of egg layers, 2 White Wyandottes, 3 Columbian Wy., 2 Silver Laced Wy., 4 Red Stars, 3 Black Stars, 2 Partridge Rocks, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 White Rocks, 3 RIR, and 2 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes are straight run and our free exotic will also be unsexed. Whew! I was origionally thinking about 6, but, DH has a "go big or go home" mentality and we do have the space! So I ordered from Murray McMurray with a 25 chick min. + 1 free exotic! We live in rural south central Iowa and love it! Born and raised. I grew up on a farm, DH spent most of his days with his grandpa workin' on the farm. We live in the country, however we do not have a "working farm"...currently that is. Our nieghbors rent our pasture and have cows that the kids love to visit and share empty corn cobs with! They also have sheep that we visit when its "lamb season". We have 3 young sons that are 7 1/2, 5 1/2, and 2 years old. They LOVE that they have all the room they could possibly want to play outside! When they are old enough I'm sure they will be involved w/ 4H, etc. We think that it is important to get kids involved with pet ownership. We have one inside dog, 2 outside (hunting) dogs, 2 outside cats and 3 new little baby kittens. The boys are pretty excited about adding chickens to our lives! I am a crafter by heart, scrapbooking, cross-stitch, crochet... When the boys don't have me busy with their ball games and boo boos, I try to work some play time in for Mama! I'm looking forward to being a part of this community and being a chicken lady! I think my addiction is already starting!