We got 6 Black Wyandottes at TSC on 2/14 (they arrived at the store on 2/11). 3 Red Pullets on 2/15 (arrived at store same day). I'm not exactly sure how old they are but I suspect we are looking at a range of between 1.5 weeks to 2 weeks guessing by size and development (pictural comparisons ??? and ship date). They are currently in a very large dog kennel (the one we use for our German Shepherd when we travel, so very big) in our craft/utility room in the house. I used zip ties to wrap it in 1/2 hardware mesh so they would hop out of the kennel. There is a window in that room so they can get sunlight and we have a heat lamp set up as well. I check often to make sure there is always plenty of fresh water and food for them. The largest one is a bit of a mom. It's kind of cute. When the others start pecking each other she runs between them and they stop. I try to handle each of them multiply times a day because I want them used to us and when I pick up the smallest three she very intently follows and watches me with a head tilt until I put them back down. She's also a bit of a magpie - when I forget to take off my ring first she tries to pull it off my finger; I guess she likes the shiny things, the little princess! There is one chick I'm worried about. It is very fast! Tries to fly all over the kennel. Hates being picked up or touched. And favorite past time is pecking me and stretching it's wings, fluffing it's chest and ramming into the other chicks. I keep picking it up anyway and telling it "There is no choice but to calm down, I'm bigger, I'm faster, I'm nicer and by George you're going to like me!" They all enjoy eating our of our hands and will hop on our arms to do so except meanie-butt who prefers to stand in the middle of the food in my hand and push everyone else away. *harumph* I'm hoping to grab 6 Buff Orpingtons and 6 Australorps when they come in and 2 Rouen ducks and 2 Swedish ducks as well. (Yeah, we're already there. But HEY! 6 children, 3 dogs, 6 cats, 3 fish, we might as well, right? Only thing is...with everything being multiples of three can we handle only 4 ducks? *wink, wink*) Oh, and we are planning on getting goats this summer. See, we ARE those people. The coop (being built in the next two weeks) is going to be a basic 10' x 12' lean-to slant style roof with a fenced 64' x 80' chicken yard. The area where we want to put the chickens is in the northeast corner of our 2 acres. We are going to face the coop to the south. Thinking of a tin roof and screened windows reinforced with 1/2" hardware mesh with usable shutters. Three in the front, two on each end (west and east), and none in the back because it is bordered by a number of trees and a good bit of overgrown greenbriar and privet (in my best goat voice: naaaaasty stuff, I haaaaaate it) but not so thick you can't see the next house 100 yards away or the dogs tromping through it. This area of our yard was overgrown with greenbriar and privet to the point that one could not see through it at all and we didn't even know how much of the area was ours until we had the surveyor come out and mark up the back half of our property. WEEEEEEE DOGGIE! we got us some layand! We moved here in March of 2012 and since fall we have been clearing out that corner of the property. edited to add: I forgot to say we are in south Mississippi. It gets triple digits in late July and throughout most of August. Machettes, clippers, chop saws, trimmers, are all very useful tools to have, but be careful swinging those machettes. They hurt if you are swinging really hard at a stoopid stubborn vine and your strength is more than you expected and you get yourself in the head. Yeah, true story. Just ask my scar. There are multiple reasons why my friends call me Skull. Off the rabbit trail...this area of the yard is about 4 inches deep in pine straw and leaves and decaying matter of branches. It is also full of grubs, bugs, and spiders (we have some golfball sized wolf-spiders here which is fine except when they are carrying their babies *shudder*). Will the chicks/chickens be fine on this ground or do we need to clear all this out too? *Pleasesaythey'llbefine-Pleasesaythey'llbefine-Pleasesaythey'llbefine* So there's the set up, here's the questions: 1. Vera, the mom chick, her behavior is fine, right? 2. Jet, the fast meanie-butt chicken (who also is showing solid black feathering so far), is the behavior something to worry about or not? If so is there a way to break it? 3. Is the overall fluttering around of the chicks and the small "fighting" normal pecking order stuff and not to be worried about? 4. When I add the others in to the mix I am assuming I should use another crate or box for space. How and when do I start introducing them to each other since they will all be fairly young and not a chick-to-grown-hen intro? 5. If my son and I build 4 boxes/brooders to put them in say in a division of 6/6/6/3 living quarters what size should the boxes be to keep them in until they go out to the coop? NOTE: If you made it all the way through this post I will personally give you a golden egg when my chicks start laying them.