Hi all, my name is mandie. I am new to the site and to all things chicken. My interest in chickens started one day when my husband and I were talking about how nice it would be to have some fresh brown eggs. I started researching and found myself here at backyardchickens. I have been looking at this site for days and I love it!! I started off just wanting eggs, now I am excited to get started on my coop and gather my flock! After looking through the breeds page, I have norrowed my choice of breeds down to Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rocks. I just want a small flock of about 12 hens. No roosters for me, thanks. Can anyone give me some advice as to which breed would be better? I have also been trying to decide how big to make my coop. I know 2-3 sq ft per chicken is recommended but I am wondering if I should allow a little more room. I live in West Virginia and the winters can sometimes be pretty bad. So first I need to know if chickens can go outside in the winter? and if so is there a certain temp at which I should not allow them outside? If they have to be cooped up a lot in the winter, does the coop need to be bigger? I want to start off with pullets. I don't want to have to keep any chicks in the house. I have dogs and cats that might think I brought them home a box of chew toys and I don't want that! So any tips on getting the pullets used to there new coop and to me? As I said before I am new to this chicken stuff and I have alot of questions. This site has answered quite a few of them but the advice of others is priceless. I hope there are lots of folks out there with lots of advice. I would like to say thank you to the people who run this site. It has been a big help to me and lots of others I am sure. I would also like to thank anybody in advance that takes the time to answer my questions.