hi, i'm monica. born and raised a city kid, recently spent time living on a ranch 17 mile out into the high desert and got a taste for the "crunchy granola, tree hugger" lifestyle. now i'm back in the phoenix metropolitan are, i'm in a town that was all cows and farms just a few years ago so having chickens is not a problem. my time on the ranch gave me a love of fresh. we grew all our own produce in a greenhouse and although we didn't have chickens, theough purchasing fresh eggs, i have discovered the wonder of them. so here's my questions, stupid though some of them might seem, i am totally new to this. first, in my house there are 3 adults and an 18 month old, my mom lives 3 miles away. how many chickens do we need to provide eggs for us? second, i have a gianormous backyard, all covered in gravel, no landscaping, no nothing. i am in the process of setting up some raised planters to get my veggies growing again. will i need to keep the chickens away from the veggies? which is better, fencing the chickens or the veggies? since i have a dog, i assume the chickens. i want chickens only, no roosters, i'm originally from boston, so brown eggs are what looks normal to me, but the blue and green eggs i have gotten fresh are really cool. egg color is low on my list of prerequisites, but all other things being equal, i prefer colored eggs. that being said, what chickens should i get? i want good layers but friendly birds are probably even more important since i have a toddler. and lastly, how much initial cash outlay for EVERYTHING i need to get started, so i know how long i will have to save. oh, and what exactly is everything i'll need? i have been doing research and have fallen in love with the eglu, it seems pretty complete but kinda expensive, what do y'all think? TIA for taking the time to help a newbie (in all ways) out!