My name is Brent and I'm from Southern Illinois. My wife and I have spent months reading as much as we can about raising chickens and finally decided it was time to get a flock of our own. We went with ten 2-4 week pullets (4 RIRs, 2 Americuanas, 2 White Leghorns, and 2 Black Laced Wyandottes). They are getting along great. Our plan when we went to the store was to start with six but, well, we experienced chicken math on day one... so, because of that, I had to double the size of the coop I'm building. It's now 5X8 and slopes from about 5ft. tall down to 3 or so (not including the nesting boxes). I also included 11 linear feet of perches at the tall end to roost. I've been using scrap wood from my garage, and taking progress pics, so once I'm done the run I'll post pictures (it's storming here, so it'll probably be another few days, but I figured it's time to join the site because I'm here multiple times a day).
The chicks are incredibly cute and fun -- we let them out (supervised) a few times and they play tug-o-war with worms, king of the hill on the compost pile, we started them with "organic" chick feed but also threw in some chick grits. They love crickets but don't seem to be too interested in yogurt or strawberries. I think we'll try hard boiled egg today or tomorrow. Yesterday I put two perches in their brooding box (2ft x 4ft with a heat lamp in the garage) and they're using it. So much fun!
Anyhow, just saying hello. We have a dog that is incredibly protective of them (won't leave their side or let them wander), which is pretty amazing to watch. We also keep two beehives, garden, mushroom hunt, forage, and make our own wine.
Thank for all the great info -- this is by far our go-to site!