Hi there, I'm new to this forum, a new owner of a 16 acre farm, and new to raising chickens!! I'd like to start my flock in the spring of 2012. The opportunities are endless, as I have lots of space!! We'd like a flock of mixed heritage breeds that are self-sustaining, supplying us with eggs as well as meat for the table, and some to sell. I want the eggs to be big, many, and of diverse colours. I want the meat to be delicious and cost-efficient (grow fast enough to be worth the feed cost). We are not opposed to having 50 birds; but have little idea of what we are getting ourselves into. We do not live on the farm yet; but will in a few years. We could let them free range, but hawks are around, so fear for their safety. We live on Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest of Canada. The farm is damp in the winter. The current enclosed pasture is 4 acres surrounded by fencing and a deep creek. The pasture is also home to two horses and three alpacas. We want Turkeys too!! My questions..... What breeds of chickens should I get? Should I buy eggs, baby chickens or laying hens to begin? Where should I buy them from? How many of each should I buy to start? When, what kind, and how many roosters should I buy? How do I integrate them with the hens? When and how do I "grow" my flock without buying more? Do I let the hens raise the chicks? How to I integrate the new chicks? When, and which birds do I butcher? What hen house/chicken coop set up would be best? (how many coops/pens?) As you can tell, I have A LOT of questions Thanks for any and all info!!!