Of course it all started out with a bunch of random hens I could buy locally. The random ones got old or ate up by predators (I have almost all of them & I free range) Then last year I ordered 25 chicks online. It was too expensive though - $100 for 25 chicks shipped? too much. Anyway - there were aracauna, buff orpington, polish & silkies (buff & black) All the while I still had my original free rooster russell. Anyway - same story - everything on the planet likes chicken - especially polish! They don't see it coming. I sold off the boys & a number of the girls too - keeping the silkies for brood masters & the buffs for egg production & the aracauna for the cool color. It makes it fun to talk about because most of our friends think raising chickens is similar to living on the moon. Anyway - long story - this year instad of buying more chicks I decided to build my own incubator & hatch them. That was going well until my trusty rooster was eaten by a coyote just before new year. Now I have to buy eggs. Yuck. But what to buy???? Something cheap for sure. Eggs on ebay can get a little out of hand + shipping + they may all die anyway! I found a nice seller though of Black Australorp eggs & he sold me 40 + 8 extras for less than $1 each (barely) including shipping. But I really wanted those cool dark eggs. Man they are expensive! I finally won an auction for Welsummer. I have 10 in the incubator right now. Of course they are too dark to see through. Anyway - I figure half will hatch - thats 5 wellies & 24 Australorps - half of those will be roosters. So that will leave (total speculation here ) maybe 2 wellie hens & 1 rooster & maybe 12 Australorp hens. So maybe 15 I plan to keep. I have 10 in the coop now so that will be the limit. So today - I see an ad for a mated pair of black copper marans. Hmm - so I agreed to buy them - now I just need to bring them home (I know about the quaranteen) So - I was thinking I could keep the wellies in the garden (I have a small brooder coop there & a nice fence) so they would breed true & I can sell the eggs as hatchers. Now I need a place for the marans too - & I want to cross the maran roo with my aracauna's so I can raise a batch of olive eggers. Do you see where this is going??? I'm going to have to sell the Australorp chicks - because there is no way I can keep this many birds! & keep them seperated so the breed true! All because my darn barny mix rooster got eaten. If I catch that coyote I'm making a coat.