I am new at raising chicks, but am sooooo excited as I've always wanted to as a little girl. We do everything naturally minded in our home, and are finally ready to raise chicks, I know they need to be inside for the first 60 days until they get their feathers- which gives my hubby plenty of time to build their coop. I have been researching like crazy, but figured I'd asked suggestions as experience is the best teacher- First of all the breeds I am considering are Orpingtons, leghorns, americana, plymouth rock and rhode island red. I'm looking for a friendly birds with my children but able to manage the Mo winters and summers, and I'd like them to be pretty steady egg layers. I'd also like a beautiful bird as they will be my biggest hobby and "family member". Suggestions on good breeds? Can I mix breeds like that, will they get along? How many should I start with? I plan on letting them be free range for the most part after boundaries are made and they know their safe zone and depending on their tempermant etc. Also any natural or organic homemade chicken grit recipes? Thanks so much!