I was looking at the website for the place I buy my wood pellets from, and they had a link to thier annual poultry sale. Kind of peaked my interest. Inexpensive hobby that I think my year and a half old daughter will grow to enjoy too. And you cant beat fresh free eggs. So after discussing it for a few weeks, the wife and I decided to get some hens for egg purposes. I have no experience whatsoever with them. I have been reading about them on the net, and trying to learn as much as I can. We want 6 or so hens. We are considering 2 Barred Plymouth Rocks, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 Golden Comets. Will these co-exist together well? What is the mortality rate on them, getting them as days old chicks? If I want 6, should I order more and expect casualties before maturity? I live In Central MA, so we'll have some cold winter months. I plan on building a small coop (4x8) attached to my shed for them once they get old enough to live outdoors (60 days old I am told). I have been looking at pictures of peoples coops on here, and they all vary greatly. I have read they need 1.5sf of sheltered space per hen, 1 nest per 4 hens, and 8 of roosting space per hen. As an architect, I know I can design a coop for them better if I actually had a clue as to what a day in the life of a chicken was like. What exactly is the function of these parts? They sleep where? on the roosting bar, or in the nest? and why only 1 nest for 4 hens? they share the nest? where are the eggs layed, in the nest? does this nest have to be enclosed? Where do they eat? in the outside portion of the coop (the run)? how about water? where do they poop? do they have a particular spot they are going to go to all the time, or do they just go where ever, whenever the mood strikes them? Thanks!