For the past several months I have been reading a lot of the posts here and I have learned so much - sometimes I even know the answer to a newbie's question, but I don't reply because I don't have any chickens yet. But all this new information has changed my outlook on raising chickens and how I *thought* I wanted to start out. Also, so many chicken illness emergencies and predator attacks posted at times have almost scared me off. But I'm an optimist and the kind of person who researches a new interest to death. Now to question #1: if you could build two runs attached to a large enough dual coop hen house, would it make sense to buy started pullets (that would be laying in 2-3 weeks) first and then in the spring buy day old chicks to raise up that would start laying several months later? Question #2: if you want to keep each flock to about 10 hens (no roos) should you buy a couple extra as insurance against any loss due to illness or predators? Question #3: is it better for the flock both phsychologically and physically to have the flock intact from the start and not add in other chickens piecemeal? And to have the chicks all the same age and contained in a separate coop and run from the big girls? Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on these issues. I bow to the community of poultry wisdom here.