I've lurked on and off for several years, reading and learning from your experiences - but am settled down on a 10 acre farm now, was graciously trained in the practical basics by a small mixed flock of laying hens over the summer, and today received my first batch of 50 chicks! They're half Silver Laced Wyandottes, half Buff Orpington. I wanted a dual purpose chicken that would do well in our summer heat and winter cold, and hopefully these will. First choice was Austrolorps, but by the time I was ready to order I couldn't find any. The roos are destined for my freezer, but I'll keep the hens as layers. Chicks had their beaks dipped, drank greedily, started pulling the paper towels off of the pine shavings before I could add mashed hard boiled egg, and kept me moving fast for awhile this morning. Things have settled down now - have chick starter sprinkled about, keep changing the paper towels and the water. They're clucking softly, some always eating and some tucked under the heat, sleeping. My 3 & 5 yr old grand niece and nephew have visited, washed their hands before and after, and complained sadly that I wouldn't let them pick up the chicks, only pet them. I figure I have enough trouble holding them securely but loosely, 3 day old chicks may require better motor skills than a 3 & 5 yr old human have! Chicks did accept starter mash from their hands, and the kids loved that! So far, so good! For a brooder I've started them in a 5' diameter kiddie wading pool: I can see that they'll graduate soon to a larger container - maybe a couple of joined boxes in a week. So - hello to all, and thank you for all of your wisdom & guidance during my lurking phase! Now that I'm actually doing it, I'm sure I'll have questions soon!