New member from SD. I have had chickens since June. I started with 15 meat birds, and 5 layers, and one rooster. Something was getting my meat birds. Never figured out what it was. It stole all but three, and got one of my layers. I finally got rid of whatever it was with a special concoction. So now I have just the layers, 4 buff orpingtons and one americana rooster. I got my first eggs last week. I am not sure why it took so long but I think it is because the hens matured after the days were already getting shorter. So I have 6 eggs so far. Pretty sure it is just one hen laying so far. The cold weather doesn't help, it got down to zero last night so no eggs yesterday and there were none this morning. I have to check in the evening because they don't lay until after I go to work. 6 more eggs and I'll have some scrambled eggs and bacon for the family. I feed layer pellets and mostly corn. I had a feeder that I put the layer feed in and then shelled a few ears of corn for them every day. Then when I was going to be gone I just filled the feeder up with corn so my wife would only have to deal with water. It occurs to me that they need the layer feed again. I picked up two 55 gallon drums full of ear corn off the ground, so I think I have plenty of that to get through the winter. I think I need to get them something with more protein. My dad said when they were kids they used to shoot rabbits and hang them up for their chickens to pick on, and they laid like crazy. I built a wire pen in my old granary for my chickens. There were some old metal laying boxes left in my old barn that I put up in there. I can pickeggs without entering the pen. I think my biggest projects that I need to do is, get some lights out to the chicken coop, hook up an electric water dish, and cover up the pen with something to retain some heat and prevent drafts. I never really thought that this would turn into a big hobby or anything, I just thought chickens would be cheap insurance so that I would always have something to eat in today's economy. I also wanted some chores to teach the kids responsibility when they get a little older, as well as teach them that disney movies are not realistic portrayals of animals. I need to get more, an old friend has some bantams that he wanted to get rid of. My dad is going to find out if he still has them. I only worry that they tend to fly more.