I have been reviewing posts a fair bit now as our chicks are scheduled to arrive on June 15th. I have several questions that I have seen answers to but then see other opinions/answers and then get a little confused. I know everyone has their own opinion, just looking for 'best practice' for raising healthy chicks. We are getting 4 PR's and 2 RIR's. 1) My local feed store that purchase the chicks for us does not have medicated feed, instead he stated to use regular chick feed and put medication in the water if/when needed. Is this good advice or should we seek out medicated feed? 2) We have not been told our chicks have been vaccinated for anything but will ask today. If one is to do their own vaccinations, how are they done? Via syringe, via food, via water? What is the minimum they should be vaccinated for? Mareks? 3) We have noticed that people raise their water and feed bowls for chicks sometimes using a piece of wood, etc. Does this make the feeder harder for the chicks to fall into (especially water in case they drown) or is because they can feed better at that level? 4) We plan on having wood shavings in the brooder, I know cedar is a no no, what are the acceptable types, pine? We have also seen people (and read) that putting paper towels down the first day over the shavings is a good idea, yes/no? 5) We initially purchase a 250w heat lamp but then read on here that they may be too hot and they can be a fire hazard. So we returned it and bought a 85w red spotlight and plan on measuring the temperature with it today. I know we need to keep it at 95-100 degrees for the first little bit and then I believe each week drop it be 5 degrees? 6) The heat lamp should be on 24x7, correct? We know the signs of chicks 'too cold' or 'too hot' so I think we should be able to identify if this happens. 7) We are going sand in our run, 8x40 and were planning on putting sand in our coop on top of linoleum flooring. All we need then is a kitty litter type scoop I believe to keep clean? And yes under the roosts we will place some easy to clean surface as well. 8) How many nesting boxes for 6 hens (hopefully hens)? 9) We are in Eastern Ontario so our winters are cold and snowy. The coop has an extended roof of about 5' so that the hens will be able to get out during the winter months. Do you Northerners dig out the snow from your runs? Also we are planning R20 in the roof and R16 in the walls with a caged oil heater (saw that on here in someone's post and thought it was a great idea), that should be efficient to keep them warm enough during the winter months? 10) Does one need to keep hens and duck separate in a coop? My guess is yes but just asking as we would like to add ducks in the future. Thanks in advance everyone!