Well I'm new to this as the adult now raising chickens. I had chickens as a child, but the extent of my knowledge was gathering the eggs. On March 22, my husband and I and our three children (16, 14 & 12) went and bought 10 chicks that were 11 days old. Five are the Rhode Island Whites and five are the New Hampshire Reds. We already had a brooder light that we used in our dog house and the brooder ended up being the big plastic container that we store our Christmas tree in. So we bought the feeders for food and water, pine bedding, chick starter feed (18-20% protein til 6 weeks and then 15-16% after 6 weeks til they are 20 weeks. After that we will go back up to 16-18% to maintain for layer status) and some Tetramyacin Powder to put in their water. The antibiotic that I put into the water is roughly half a thimble size in amount. We bought a book on tending to and raising chickens for pleasure and egg laying. For 15-30 min. per day and depending on the age of the chicks, we turned off the brooder light per recommendation in case the power ever went out (we do live out in the country and loss of power is a given). We have handled the chicks daily to ensure they are aware of us and feel somewhat safe with our presence. We also have slowly introduced the chicks to our four Newfoundland dogs since they all will be sharing the backyard. We have been diligently working and building the chicken coop with the recommended square footage of 1-4 square feet per bird. The floor of the coop is 18 inches off the ground to hopefully deter some of the rodents. Insulation will be put in the floor as well as the walls since both the breeds are prone to frostbite and we live in Illinois. Cross ventilation will be provided as well as southern and eastern window exposure to ensure maximun light during the day as well as natural warmth. Electricity will be ran to extend the days when winter makes them short. Nesting boxes and roosts will be provided as well. The outdoor run will also be large and the fencing will be toe'd out 8-12 inches under the ground surface to cut down on predators. We will also have the run totally enclosed to prevent accidental flying out and to prevent flying predators from doing what comes natural to them. So far, we've had great success without any deaths yet but we are aware that such things can and will happen. Any advice anyone has would be greatly appreciated. As it stands now, the chicks are 4 weeks old and growing rapidly. We are hoping to have the coop done in the next couple of weeks so we can move them outside. Pecking order is currently being made.