So I guess I'm new to BYC--so I'll introduce myself. My name is Kendra, and I live in Lancaster county, PA (most of my neighbors are Amish). So I thought I would stop stalking the message boards and introduce myself. I ordered 15 buff orpington pullets from Randall Burkey on 3/19, and found out today that they are being shipped out on the 30th. =] I am very excited. So I've set up my space for the most part (a washing machine box cut down a bit, 250 watt infrared heat bulb, and waterer). I still need to get a feeder and the chick starter. I was thinking I would feed unmedicated, because it freaks me out a little bit to feed my babies (that just may end up as a meal someday) medicine that is not necessary. So I was thinking about what I should put on the bottom of my brooder. I am trying my very best to prevent foul odor. I am contemplating putting Chux pads (human underpads used in medical facilities) on the bottom with a layer of shavings on top. Do you guys think putting the chux is worthwhile, or no? Also, I had a few questions that I can't seem to figure out. (they may be silly questions). I read the other day about fertilized eggs being okay to eat, etc. and I know I didn't order a roo, but....I am prepared in case. so the question is--how could I tell that it was fertilized before I cracked it open (and ruined it)? I think someday I would like to have some babies. Also, does a hen get broody when she knows she's laid fertile eggs? What's with broodiness? How does one handle a broody hen without getting the fingers bitten off? Also, as I am building the coop now (I will post pics when it's not as hideous, lol) and was wondering how many nest boxes to put in for 15 hens? I am building a (roughly) 7x7 coop out of scrap lumber. It will be connected to a "chicken moat" that will surround my veggie garden. if you don't know what a chicken moat is.... I have a family of red-tail hawks in my woods in back of my house, which is why I thought this design was ingenious. Until they are bigger I think I will put netting over the fences to protect them. anyways, not trying to talk your ears off--just trying to prepare and learn. any other advice would be wonderful.