Quick introduction. I am a mom of 2 boys living in Redford, Michigan planning to start our little backyard chicken project. We are in the process of converting our old doghouse to a chicken coop and looking for a reputable place to get layers. I would ideally like to have them before winter, but am not sure if I should get chicks or pullets at this time of year. I have a ton of questions. Some I have been able to find answers for on this forum, but others I am still searching for. For instance: 1. Is it really necessary to raise the dog house off the ground? 2. The location of the doghouse is in the shade with peeks of sunlight, is that enough, or should we consider moving it? 3. I was thinking of starting with 3 hens - 4 hens. Is there a magic number for a small flock to avoid picking?? Looking forward to all the wealth of information.