Here's a collection of my notes and thoughts after lots of BYC reading, three years of waiting, and lots of chicken admiring! First-Timer Chicken Strategy Goals: - Learn about and experience the food cycle directly, expose my kids to it in a positive, fun way - Develop a source of nutrient-dense, very fresh eggs. In our household of seven, we consume about 24-28 eggs per week. - Generate fertilizer for our large (100x100) family vegetable garden - Experience all the fun, trials, and tribulations that come with being responsible for and caring for other living beings Coop Plans: The Garden Loft (http://www.thegardencoop.com/large-chicken-coop-plans.html) Size: Measures about 11.5'w x 9'd x 8.5'h (3.6 x 2.75 x 2.6 m), outer dimensions. Henhouse: 34.5 sq ft (3.2 sq meter). Run: 102 sq ft (9.5 sq meter). Location: >100’ft from dwellings, >25’ from property line, in the woods, next to our large compost pile. Good sun in the Winter, lots of shade in the Summer. There is a 10’ drop in the grade, so I will need to build up the grade a bit to level. I’ll determine whether we have water runoff issues after it is built, with plans to install a gutter on the low side of the roof if needed. Build: Debating what should be treated lumber and what shouldn't. Right now I think just the base will be treated, everything else sealed with paint. Building with a professional carpenter directing me. He wants everything cedar but he also isn't paying for it. The cost for cedar is 3X that of plain framing pine. I was going to modify the henhouse, blocking off room for storage because originally we planned on only six hens. But chicken math kicked in and 10 are on the way so we will build the plans almost without modification. I'll mod the roosts so that they're removable for easy storage. I do need a supplies storage solution. Henhouse litter: I have been reading the Poop board and SweetPDZ megathread. I originally planned sand but it looks like PDZ is a great alternative albeit more expensive: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/621363/poop-board-convert-warning-graphic-gross-poop-pictures/360 . The floor of the henhouse will be linoleum. Run litter: Deep Litter Method started with lots of leaves from the surrounding woods, a bale of straw, and grass clippings turned in from the first lawn cuts of the Spring. Chicks: I picked breeds from one of the local southern states’ breed list according to the delivery date I wanted. The ones I DIDN’T get but still could are light and dark Brahmas, buckeye, white rock and New Hampshire red (should I add them back???). Here's my order, set for delivery 3/13: Araucana (2) Barred Rock White Leghorn Black Australop Rhode Island Red Buff Orpington Golden Laced Wyandotte Welsummer (2) Brooder: I have a 2’x2’x18” wood box and a 4’x4’x2’ wood box. I am going to lay linoleum down in the large box and cover with PDZ then pine shavings. I'll put the smaller brooder in the larger one to start. Plus paper towels for the first week? I have heat lamps (purchased as a lot with a number of of other chick supplies), but am considering the Mama Heating Pad option if I can find everything I need for it (MHP: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update/450) . If the coop was already built I would raise them outside. Since it isn't built yet, I will use our garage. I have a chick feeder and a hanging nipple waterer. I have two kids (3 and 5) and intend for them to tend the chicks with me daily, and later the hens outside. This endeavor is largely motivated by a wish to educate them about food life cycles as well as caring for livestock. We will probably skirt the line between pet and well-loved livestock. Keeping Chicks Healthy: I need to figure out what vaccinations come with the chicks. I should know this already but since SS was the only good option for this year’s chick order, I didn't check. I plan to ask at pickup. I will put a clump of sod in the brooder around week 1 for exposure to our local dirt and bacteria. That plus fermentation should be pretty good protection to start. Oh and I need to include unpasteurized ACV in their water. I've done a lot of reading on BYC on chick care. The summary take-away I have gleaned is to watch them, handle them, use common sense, and check for pasty butt. If any chicks seem off, isolate them, analyze, take pictures, and search for the problem on BYC or here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps044. Or if all else fails, make a post for immediate help. Feed: I intend to get unmedicated chick starter feed from southern states and ferment it using one-bucket backslopping. (https://www.google.com/amp/s/tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/amp/) I will probably need to ferment in my garage, and am hopeful it'll be warm enough. Once the girls move outside, I will have a hanging adult waterer and feeder. These came as part of a package. I'll probably feed a mix of dry and fermented for convenience’ sake. I assume I will make adjustments to the feeder and waterer over time as ideas and needs present themselves. I need to read about transitioning from brooder to Coop, but over got at least four weeks before that point. Adult Chicken Care Treats: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-treat-chart-the-best-treats-for-backyard-chickens I have a fake egg for later encouraging...but that's months away! What am I missing? What should I consider that I haven't? How many birds am I going to come home from the store with? 10 or chicken-math-10? Would love any constructive criticism, suggestions, or other comments! Edits with downthread suggestions: - Consider that the advertised max number of chickens (16) may not be true. It may really only fit 10 birds... - Horizontal nipple waterers are recommended - RIRs may be my problem birds, due to bullying - Need to do more research on roost placement. The design may be a problem because it may not leave enough space away from the walls. - Don't need as many nest boxes, two may suffice - Start a new thread for the coop build process. Track spending and labor hours.