Hi all! I'm Cat. I'm pretty new to the chicken world. I've known a few chickens in my time, and I do like to eat eggs, but never really wanted to have birds around. Last year, my parents decided to get chickens so they could have fresh eggs and also for bug control in the garden, and the idea is slowly coming on to me. I raise meat rabbits, and keep a small garden. Controlling the bugs (flies and aphids in particular) is hard work! So, I've been thinking that a small flock of hens might be my answer. I'd like to have a few hens (NO roosters) for keeping down the bugs, particularly around the rabbits, which are kept in cages inside a dog kennel (keeps stray dogs out) on a dirt floor with scattered straw. My thoughts right now are to get some bantam hens (I don't know if my feed store carries banties or not, but I do have a friend who raises them), and once they're past the brooder stage (6 weeks old? not sure how old most feed store chicks are...) let them loose in the rabbit kennel (I would probably add chicken wire, at least on the bottom half, to make doubly sure they couldn't get out through the little holes). But, since I'm only really getting them for bug control, would you recommend keeping them over winter, or butcher when the cold weather sets in and buy new ones each spring? I could do a different breed, if it would make more sense to. I don't want huge chickens, and I'd prefer quieter ones (close neighbors). Also, most of my rabbit cage stacks only have about 6" of clearance underneath them. I clear out the rabbit waste weekly, but I think the chickens would like to scratch through it for bugs between cleanings. I'm not interested in eggs (my parents' hens produce more than enough for them, my family, and some to sell), but I'll take what I get if I do. It's already in my plans to get DE to help with bug control anyway, so I figured I could use that for the birds' dirt baths. What else would I need to take into consideration? Size of brooder? How many hens should I get? (10x10 kennel, may rotate into my 12x14 garden, or other areas of the yard/flower beds for "spot checks") Sorry for so many questions, just want to go into this as informed as possible.