Hello everyone! We have 5 chickens, 1 awesome rooster and 4 hens, however we want to add 12-15 layers to the flock. We do not have a brooder as we got all of the chickens as adults. I was planning on trying to get 6-8 week old chickens when the temperature is warmer and just putting them out in the coop right away, avoiding the need for a brooder altogether. My dad recently informed me that he'd like to try meat chickens, which of course requires a brooder. We have 5 cats, 2 of which are let into the main part of the house anytime they want and one lives in the main part of the house. The oldest of the cats is a proven hunter. I also have a mentally impaired sister and I have no doubt there'd be an accident if the only thing between the chicks and cats is a door. This is why I'm thinking a plastic tote would be best. I was thinking of cutting a large hole in the lid and attaching hardware cloth to it for ventilation, however this brings about another problem: the heat lamp. I've no clue where to start looking or what to get. It's near impossible to get a normal light bulb of decent wattage because of the new mercury ones and even then how would I keep the cats from knocking it down? I heard actual heat lamps are 250 watts and that is wayyyy to hot, and would probably melt the tote. I am so frustrated with trying to figure this out that I almost want to just give up. Oh yes, I almost forgot. There is no electricity in the coop so we can't put it there and frankly the idea of having it way out there with no supervision scares me as the bedding can easily catch fire. We also can't put it in the garage because it's far to crowded and besides that it smells terribly and always has mice. I need suggestions and opinions please.