I have been a "lurker" on BYC for about 5+ years. Our family had chickens when I was a kid. (and guinea's, turkey, ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses...you get the picture) That might be why my husband was hesitant to "start" it all with Chickens! I had planned to build a coop myself (no way hubby was helping with that)...there was a 1/2 finished coop on Craigslist that I watched all summer...the price was right in September $200-and I brought it home. I added hardware cloth to the sides, and had a few finishing things to do. Of COURSE...it wasn't done yet when I also saw a CL ad for a momma hen with 9 babies...Sounded good to me, the momma would momma them and they wouldn't out grow the coop by spring (little did I know!) so we picked them up for ($20). Thats my "kids" in the coop playing with the babies. They would spend hours out there! Everyone made it through the winter, some REALLY cold nights, and snow..they didnt like it that much! Again Thank You BYC---recommended wrapping the run area with greenhouse plastic. It did WONDERS! ....and spring came early in February ( we live in the NE part of Washington State) you can see my dust bathing picts under the current contest. They are February Pictures. We have NO IDEA what breeds we have. They definitely have some differences: Of the 9 babies we ended up with 3 roos, and 6 hens. The kids named them all. First Egg was in January 31st 2016. The babies were born on Sept 5th, 2015..so about 5 months. THANK YOU BYC helping with an egg bound hen: Floating her in a bin of water, and she got to "sleep" in the house for a while. We have experienced Roo "in fighting" and "overmating"...BYC helped me heal "lightning"the hen in the "floating" pic above who's head had almost been scalped by her brother & sisters! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! (no picts of that...I could barely keep my dinner down!) She healed VERY nicely after living in the garage for a while. Two of the 3 Roo's got flocks of their own on other farms, This first roo pic is SantaClawz, the second roo pic is Tarzan. The 3rd roo we kept he is "tweety". (he became dinner this month, as he was not being nice to the ladies...once again BYC helped me try a bunch of things...that didnt work, and then gave me 'calm' when I needed to solve his bullying problem.) We had a happy "quiet" flock...but only for a while of course once I had my hens head healed up....something took her & one of her sisters. No signs of anything....they had been free ranging, and laying eggs EVERYWHERE, and one even started sitting...so we thought maybe they will come back in a month...they did not. So -2 hens....then later 2 more went missing about a week later..and we found the feathers. Two VERY LARGE white dogs had been showing up on the perimeter of our property--they are the most likely suspects. After that we were left with only 2 hens & the momma & Tweety...So, I moved the coop into the center of our property not on a border and gave them a nice fenced run that is about 30x40. I miss having them run to me when I call, and following after me like I'm the pied piper....but they are SAFE! About that time my son wanted to "build an incubator" to hatch some eggs. He is 12. So we did the project together....and took turns with the other kids taking care of our "eggs". Luckily the same time I had a hen go broody. So I gave her "fake" eggs while we incubated. Here is our incubator and our first egg hatching on good friday right before easter. (no we didnt plan it that way) This is our first baby to hatch. I took the picts through the glass. So much to tell about that experience I will save it for another day. The black hen is Amigo 2, who was sitting on fake eggs...she adopted them all!! no problems...once again THANK YOU BYC... We also did a "test" run of hatching under a broody hen with fertile barred rock eggs. That too is a story for another time...only 2 hatched. So our Flock today consists of 12 chickens: 1- Old Momma, 2- Amigo 1 & Amigo 2 (all hens) from the orginal baby group. 1- "Cheecky Chicken" Adopted Easter Egger ..again BYC helped me integrate her to the flock the right way. 3 Roos from the Easter baby group (we had 4 roosters, one has a new home.) 4 hens from the Easter baby group (we had 1 more who died as a teenager) 1 barred rock hen (1 roo was given away) I found out about BackYardChickens through google searches on how to build coops. My other hobbies are Quilting & Gardening. My hubby & I have been married 16 years, we have 3 kids DS12, DD10 & DD7 . I'm a stay at home, homeschooling mom. I'm sure the chicken stories will go on & on, as they are the funniest things you have ever seen. The common comment in our home now is "where's mom?" "she's with the chickens!"