Hi everyone !! Back in October, 2014, my husband and I built a really fun chicken coop. I supplied the coop with 10 beautiful hens and 1 very handsome rooster. They were all fairly young and also very healthy. I find myself spending a LOT of time just watching their habits and getting to know their personalities. I have spoiled them rotten with very good quality scratch grains, laying mash, oyster shell crumbles, fresh apples, carrots, dried worms and lettuce !! They LOVE to see me coming their way !! They are taking very good care of me as well, by producing some very delicious large brown eggs on a daily basis. Usually no more that 6 at this time. I spinkle lime onto the chicken grounds to keep down odor and parasites. I have never known of a chicken pen being "odor free" or "poopy free." !! With all that said, I asked Santa for an incubator for Christmas !! Low and behold, I recieved one which will incubate only 7 eggs at a time. Plenty for me !! Being so excited about the incubator, I immediately, on Christmas Day, placed 7 beautiful eggs for hatching. The incubator was kept on my countertop in my washroom which is inside my house !! 20 days later, I witnessed 6 adorable little chicks hatching from their shells. What a sight !!! One egg did not hatch, despite giving it 4 more days in the incubator. I brought a rabbit cage that I had at the barn into the washroom for a brooder. It is 42 inches long, 24 inched deep and 24 inches wide. I placed "puppy pads" on the floor part and added a warming lamp. I NEVER knew how much little chicks can eat, poop and drink water, not to mention, be so captivating to watch !! They are 5 weeks old today and beautiful, despite resembling small buzzards !!!! They are, what I would call, almost fully feathered. I am so ready to introduce them to the outside world, inside the chicken coop. My fear is, I live in Mississippi and the weather is still very cold here. 70's one day, 30's the next !! I must honestly admit, I am ready to get them out of my house due to all the dander and "stinch" in my washroom, despite me cleaning their brooder about every other day. I am also concerned about how much "poop" spores I have probably been breathing in. I know that may sound silly, but, I fear contracting histoplasmosis. Sometimes I wear a mask and sometimes I haven't. When the chicks flutter their wings or try to fly from one side of the brooder to the other, I can visually see little dust particles flying EVERYWHERE. Do you think it will be safe for the chicks if I hang their "brooder" on wall inside the chicken coop, partially cover it for more added warmth and continue using the lamp for heat ??? It's just the temperatures outside during this Febuary that concern me. This has been a fabulous experience for me and I plan to continue incubating and hatching, however, NEVER during the winter months !!! Now that this story has become a novel, I will not be so in depth on my next thread !!! Just had to paint a picture of the events since last October !! One thing is for sure, the eggs have been mighty tasty with bacon, grits and busquits !!! Look forward to suggestions !! I'm "pooped" out !!!