We got our chicks in April & pleasantly surprised they started laying before the end of August. They are an assortment of reds, pretty friendly, one flier who thinks she's our personal pet and comes out to greet us when we collect the eggs. We hastily built a salvage material coop in the lilac bushes behind our shed barn from a large farm table screened in on the bottom with a trap door going up to a saltbox house style shelved nesting area, made from wooden doors cut in half, plus an old bureau hay drawer at the base to catch loose eggs. Using speed brackets & drywall screws we did it in one afternoon, attaching it directly to the barn - used as a supporting back wall - for a quick, easy and inexpensive fix. They were quite happy there all summer. Now we are almost done with a more permanent setup inside our barn with better nesting accommodations for the winter. In the mountains here it gets as much as 50 below so we are definitely going to insulate; any cold weather tips are appreciated. I had a flock of about 20 whites growing up so it's been awhile. Our local store frequently runs out of things (today they were out of milk) so we got chickens and next...who knows, maybe a goat or cow ! It is a challenge to use the eggs but so far I've hard boiled, made fluffy omelets, egg salad and deviled eggs. Any recipes are welcome, I just put garden herbs like finely chopped leeks in my cheese omelet. To me, nothing tastes as good as a fresh egg ! I hope to pickle some while I can the rest of my garden. My next step is to dry and recycle the shells back to the hens.