So...I thought I had it all figured out. I am brand spanking new to the concept of keeping chickens. So new that I occassionally break down laughing at the idea of raising chickens. So my grand scheme was: 1. Build a coop and run large enough to comfortably hold 4 hens (I am after eggs). DONE 2. Start off with 2 young adult hens to work out the newbie jitters and because I am assuming it is harder to mess up with adults than chicks. DONE 3. Towards the end of the summer get a couple of chicks from a local chicken enthusiast. 4. Raise the chicks over the winter and have them ready for the next spring. 5. Introduce the new hens to the older hens in the winter, I assumed that this would be a lower stress time since they will not be actively laying. But now I'm wondering about it. I generally have more time off work (I teach at a local university) over the summer. The chickens seem fairly easy (of course its only been 2 weeks) I don't know what the late summer/early fall availability of chicks from local growers would be (the feed store says they only get them in in the spring) I'm even wondering if I want to bother with chicks at all. Yes, I'm sure you bond with them during that period but frankly it seems more cost effective just to buy young hens (and there are lots available now. So I'm toying with either: a. Sticking with the original game plan b. Staying with 2 hens now and just buying 2 more young hens in the spring c. Getting chicks now and hand raising over the summer d. Getting more young hens now. So what are your opinions. Are there generally plenty of chicks available in the late summer/early fall? Would it be more practical to introduce 2 new hens now since the other hens have only been in the coop/run for 2 weeks? Am I completely insane for wanting to raise hens at all (sorry, had to throw that one in there since it is the consensus opinion of many of my friends!) Am I over thinking all of this? Thanks!