I was 15 when introduced to raising chickens by believe it or not a biology teacher. That was 48 Years ago! She thought it would be a great thing for city kids to learn to raise and care for a small animal. I hatched the egg by keeping it in my shirt pocket during the day and close to me at night. It hatched in my pocket at school. I cared for it until it was almost laying size and a neighbors dog got her. I was heartbroken. Since then Ive been all over the country and raised chickens in California, New Mexico, Alabama, and Utah. Each place has had its challenges. I have settled in northern Utah and have 18 hens. Ive raised many kinds. so far my favorites are barred rocks because they are so gentle and friendly. I will be digging in the yard and they will run over and get right in the hole I'm digging. they let me pet and pick them up and they are good layers. I have brown leghorns blue laced red wyandotes buff orfingtons, road island reds, barred rocks, and red sex link. I love the companionship and the antics. I love seeing them play chicken foot ball with a huge night crawler or other prize. I am an avid gardener and have an organic raised bed large garden ( a little smaller than a truck patch) I am devoutly religious. I am an electronics engineer and have been married 42 years. I have 8 children and 18 grand children. I found BYC while looking for a solution to the swamp my poor chickens are in during the fall and winter months. I have found wonderful and practical ideas some of which I will use. I am building an entirely new chicken house and run as a result. Some tips I have: rodents: use the good nature A24 rat trap, Egg eaters: build roll away nest boxes, you cant beat them- cheap: use paint pans and out door carpet, expensive use Best nest boxes, diet: add some greens once a week and dried meal worms. I feed them lawn clippings when I mow in the summer (organic). I will be posting how my new coop and run proceed.