Well. Nothing beats getting down in the dirt with a few real chickens. It's been 20 years since I was around real chickens, so I thought it might be a good idea to visit a family that has chickens before running out and buying some. My first impression was 'oh, yuck'. My second impression was 'If I'm going to have chickens they are not going to free-range the whole backyard!' I could see right away that I do not want white chickens. I'd be giving them baths constantly! My initial breed choices have definitely changed: I really do like the Rhode Island Reds! The aren't too huge, their feathers are sleek and clean, and they aren't too fluffy (i.e., scary). I was really surprised at the size of the chicken poop! I was thinking it would look like normal wild bird poop, but good grief. It wasn't easy picking our way across the yard. Definitely I can see why one must wear different shoes for chickening. The smell did not bother me at all, which was one thing I was worried about. I think if you have chickens you have to take care of their coop and yard regularly, and not let the poop pile up on everything! I can see it's a bad idea to have any ledges, however narrow, inside the coop. Straight walls, windows without sills, and a clearly-defined roost as far away from the single nest box as possible. I definitely will re-think our coop and run design. I can tell for sure we'll need to have the coop and run finished before any chickens come here to live! And I decided for sure to get pullets rather than chicks, so we'll have to find a good sexed source. whew.... oh... and I was really surprised at the size of the chicken feet!