Hello: My wife and I will be starting to keep some laying hens this spring. She has done her research and chosen Black Australorps. She wants to stay with one breed. The building of the coop is up to me. We have a few acres (some pine forest, some lawn/garden area) and intend to free range 6 -12 birds in the evenings for several hours. As new keepers there is a lot to be learned. I can read all the books and search the threads and but I figured my own thread would be easier to keep things organized. 1. How long do I keep the chicks indoors? 2. How big a coop do I need for 6-12 hens, and how many boxes? 3. Should I get a rooster? We are very much looking forward to our endeavor.