so, i blasted into chicken-keeping last year (and was on this forum all the time for a while; thanks everyone for the advice et al!) with fifteen hatchery chicks, all heavy breed layers (RIRs, BPRs, BOs, AOs, and PPRs) and all pullets (except for that one little sexing mistake *cough*). i decided over the winter that i could add a small number of hens for the size of my coop and not be over-crowded, so i just ordered six more heavy layers (columbian and GL wyandottes) from MPC. i also ordered a half dozen silkies because, and i can come clean to you folks, i adore chickens! and i love my layers, but i wanted something pettish, too. here's hoping i love silkies! now, they're not going to be shipped until the first week of june (and while i love the service that MPC provides, it's unhealthy for someone as impatient as me to continue to order from them when their turnaround time is pretty regularly 3 months from order, gah!) so i've got time for planning here. last year, i built a ginormous and ubiquitous rubbermaid brooder and my 16 chicks (packing peanut [a pullet, even!], ahoy!) did marvelously in there for about eight weeks, by which time they were running out of room and ready for the new coop. this year, my plan is to start all 12 (plus more peanuts?) in the brooder while i work on a bantam pen in my existing coop. i'm hoping that the pen will be finished by the time my heavies are getting biggish and they can be moved temporarily to that pen while i finish raising the silkies in the brooder. by the time the banties are ready for their pen, i hope that the layers will be ready to integrate with my existing flock. does this timeline sound completely mad to you? am i going to have any problems with my standards and banties mixed for the first couple of months? i'm more than willing to build another brooder if necessary (that was some big fun, seriously!) but i'd rather consolidate if i can. any thoughts, advice, anecdotes to share? also, i've been reading lots about silkies here and elsewhere, but a lot of what's written out there is written by enthusiasts. can anyone who's not a total silkie slave give me a balanced idea of what to expect, with the negatives as well? and how silkies compare to my big, burly layers?